Technology and animal conservation make an unlikely pair but given the rate at which animals are disappearing from our planet, it seems that we have done too much damage. Tech experts all over the world are fighting the good fight for animal conservation. Here are some of the most effective ideas we have seen that put technology to work for endangered species:
With the help of GPS and accelerometer technology, biologists will have smart collars to track not only a wild animal's location but also their hunting areas, migration patterns and much more. Researchers are claiming this technology will help humans predict animal behavior and reduce human-animal conflicts, revolutionizing the way we interact with and manage wildlife. By keeping track of these animals, we can help conserve their species by avoiding human traffic in those areas and banning poachers from entering.
Overfishing and unsafe fishing practices have been causing the cetacean populations to drop rapidly in the past decade. Cetaceans are sea-dwelling animals such as whales and dolphins. A pinger is a hi-tech device fishers are now attaching to fishing nets that emits a sonic pulse. Cetaceans are hypersensitive to these pulses in the water and therefore can avoid he commercial fishing nets. This small but effective change can help save hundreds of dolphins and whales from ending up in nets around the world.
From elephant tusks to rhino horns, poachers have been hunting these animals for years and selling them for thousands of dollars in the black market. This black market is depleting rhino and elephant population around the globe. To tackle this issue, a biotechnology company in San Francisco has developed a synthetic rhino horn, which is in fact, purer than the actual one. Using keratin and DNA from the animals, these horns will be sold to the market, undercutting the black market price. Poachers looking to make serious cash will soon be out of work.
The International Barcode of Life project is assigning a barcode to each individual species unique DNA to protect them from illegal poaching or over-hunting. From fish-mongers' stalls to the distribution of an endangered species, the new database may be able to save species and keep a watch on our food supplies. Already over 100,000 species have been barcoded in over 25 countries to help build up the database, and the project expects that by the end of the first phase, over a million species will be part of the Barcode of Life Data System. By keeping track of animal products in such a way, we can help enforce laws about the selling and trade of certain species, and therefore save that species from extinction.
Drones are already playing a huge role in technological advances around the world. In the wildlife-rich African country of Kenya, drones are accompanying teams of sniffer dogs and armed patrol with a thermal camera to help teams to stop poachers. Drones have the advantage of being undetected and therefore can catch poachers on camera. National parks are currently being equipped with these drones to map deforestation and keep count of the endangered species.
Celebrate the annual Endangered Species Day today and help us raise awareness about the endangered species in the world. We've hidden several of the endangered animals throughout the issue. See how many you can find. 9 aside from the pictures in this article.
Clue: It's not just the big picture.
Answers next week.