Environment

Tiny tracker to help fight rhino poaching

Smart move: An engineer uses a piece of wood to show how the tracking device is inserted in a rhino horn.

Smart move: An engineer uses a piece of wood to show how the tracking device is inserted in a rhino horn.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

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French tech company develops device to insert into horns

French tech company Sigfox has developed a bite-size tracker that can be inserted into the horns of rhinos to help conservationists monitor and protect the endangered species.

Cameras, infrared and motion sensors, electronic bracelets and drones have been used over the years to protect endangered species, but have at times been limited by vast distances and limited resources in the countries concerned.

Sigfox, known for building networks that link objects to the Internet, has developed sensors able to give the exact location of rhinos using the firm’s network over a longer period of time.

“We now help rangers and conservation experts to observe from a distance, taking less risk, and especially to anticipate potential dangers that the animal could (face),” said Marion Moreau, head of the non-profit Sigfox Foundation.

The sensors can alert park rangers when rhinos approach an area identified as particularly dangerous due to previous instances of poaching.

Real time approach

The sensors can be used to get rescue teams to the location in real time. “We started a project in Zimbabwe three years ago, inventing a prototype of a captor, inserted in the horn of about 30 rhinoceroses, which emits the exact position of the rhinoceros three times a day, over three years,” said Ms. Moreau.

The Sigfox network uses a specific radio signal which offers more security guarantee than other tracking devices.

The sensor only wakes up when it has to transmit data, which makes it immune to interception by poachers, she said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 4:21:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/tiny-tracker-to-help-fight-rhino-poaching/article25854085.ece

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