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article imageFighting back on poaching: Fitting tracking collars to wildlife

By Tim Sandle     Oct 1, 2018 in Environment
As part of its conservation work, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WFF) is fitting Tanzanian Elephants with satellite-trackable collars. The aim is to track the movement of the elephants at all times.
Elephants are in constant danger from poachers, who will kill the animals for their ivory tusks and sell the ivory via illegal means. Back in 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) listed African elephants under measures intended to restricts international trade of their parts.
However, demand for ivory has continued to leading to a steady continuation with the poaching of elephants. For example, in September 2018 ninety elephant carcasses were found in Botswana with their tusks hacked off. This was reported to be one of Africa’s worst mass poaching sprees of elephants.
To address poaching requires new approaches and new technology. The aim of the collars is to deploy digital technology as so to help conservationists and the WWF overall to protect elephants in Tanzania against poachers. As part of an initial study, the WWF is to outfit thirteen adult elephants located in the Mikumi National Park and Selous Game Reserve with satellite-trackable collars.
The collars are linked to GPS will enable elephants wearing the collars to be accurately traced and tracked as they move. If the fitting if the collars is successful, further fitting will be rolled out.
Speaking with Laboratory Roots, Dr. Amani Ngusaru, the WWF Tanzania Country Director explains how the technology is designed to work: “The use of satellite collars technology is proven as an effective measure to monitor wildlife movements and at providing a security function. We at WWF hope that this exercise will enhance the security that is needed to protect elephants especially from poaching.”
The satellite-trackable collars will give conservationists real-time location tracking data, as well as providing insights into the elephants’’ behavioral patterns. Such information can provide alerts if the elephants are moving closer to known poaching areas or indicate if the elephants are in potential danger from poachers.
As well as seeking to reduce animal poaching the collars can also keep the elephants more in their natural state, through a reauction in how frequently human/elephant interactions need to occur. This not helps the elephants it leads to time savings for the conservationists too.
More about Elephants, Tracking, Poaching
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