Author – Manisha Gupta
During our childhood days, there was an interesting activity called ‘Wildlife Week’, which was celebrated by the forest department in a big way during the first week of October. Numerous activities like nature walks, birdwatching, wild animal study, quiz and essay competitions brought out the best in school children. Visiting a national park or a wildlife sanctuary and watching wild animals walk right in front of us was quite a thrill. Gone are those days today when the only wild animals we see is on TV!
The beautiful wildlife across the world has been diminishing due to poaching. Unchecked human activities have destroyed numerous forest reserves and animal habitats, while the balance of natural ecosystems have been disrupted. Despite all the wanton destruction of nature around us, the only time we notice is when something big happens – like the count of tigers goes down to half.
While we all are concerned about wildlife, we are helpless to stop any illegal activity that harms wildlife. Technology has left us spellbound in many fields; so how about making the best use of the latest technologies to conserve wildlife?
8 Innovative Technologies That Help to Conserve Wildlife
Here are some innovative ways in which technologies are helping conserve the endangered animal species that are gradually disappearing:
GPS Tagged Tigers
These days Global Positioning System or GPS tracking is used by nearly everyone to get directions. So why not use this technology for saving endangered tigers? ‘Smart collars’ use the GPS and accelerometer technology are ideal for tracking the movements of tigers. With the help of this satellite navigation technology that is fitted into a collar around a tiger’s neck, researchers are able to track its location and activities and take immediate action when needed.
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles with hovering cameras up in the air that give researchers real-time imaging of the existing wildlife in a specific forest area. Since drones are non-intrusive, they are used to monitor wildlife sanctuaries for getting an accurate count of endangered species living there. With increasing global warming, the ice in the Arctic region is constantly melting. This possesses a great threat to seals and polar bears. Researchers have left cameras mounted on unmanned planes to fly over the Arctic region, so that they can capture pictures of the declining sea ice and mark the location of endangered seals.
PIT Tags for Fish
Passive Integrated Transponder or PIT tags are inserted into fishes to monitor their migration patterns of endangered species. These tags work exactly in the same manner as microchips in pets like dogs.
It is dangerous for human life to get too close to some species such as sharks. To help tackle this problem, a stereo-camera system for studying sharks has been developed by scientists. This device helps in measuring the size of the sharks without requiring any human to get too close to them.
High-Tech Fish Hooks
Smart hooks are high-tech magnetic fish hooks that are being used to protect sharks from fishing lines. These special metal coating hooks produce an electric voltage that prevent sharks from coming near the fishing lines. Since sharks are highly sensitive to electric fields, they keep away from these borders.
In Australia, Tasmanian devils are facing a high risk of acquiring the devil facial tumor disease. This disease is spreading across the species, thus causing a dip in their population. To better understand this disease and control it, the scientists are using the gene-sequencing machine. This device helps in understanding the genetic diversity of the species. The DNA code of the animals can be easily studied using this device.
Kenya is the first country to try elephant texting as a way to protect both a growing human population and the wild animals that now have less room to roam. SIM cards are being fit into the collars of elephants to prevent them from leaving their natural habitat. The moment these animals leave their homes and approach towards human settlements, conservationists at Kenya Wildlife Service receive a text message. These SIM cards help the researchers in tracking the migration route of elephants as well.
Monitoring Wildlife Sounds
A new software technology has been designed to listen to multiple bird sounds at a time. This device helps researchers to identify which bird species are present in one location. It will also help them know how these species are changing, due to the climatic conditions.