Text messages saving elephants

Kenya’s marauding elephants are being halted before they wreak havoc on local farmer’s harvests thanks to mobile phone technology.

Kenya’s marauding elephants are being halted before they wreak havoc on local farmer’s harvests thanks to mobile phone technology.

In a bid to save the elephants (which are on the bring of being on the endangered species ‘red alert’ list) scientists have attached a mobile phone card into a collar around a roaming bull elephant’s neck. The collar transmits a message alerting the scientists of the animals movements so they can forewarn villagers when the elephant heads towards their village.

The huge bull elephant had a long history of raiding villagers’ crops during the harvest, sometimes wiping out six months of income at a time. But not this time – the elephant (nicknamed Kimani) was met by an armed guard and jeep who drove the elephant away from crops…

The idea to use mobile phone technology came after several elephants in teh area had to be shot due to persistent crop raiding. In association with the Kenyan Wildlife Service, the Save the Elephants group concocted the plan to see if they could save Kimani…

By placing a mobile phone SIM card in Kimani’s collar, they were able to set up a virtual “geofence” using a global positioning system that mirrored the conservatory’s boundaries. Whenever Kimani approaches the virtual fence, his collar texts rangers.

They have intercepted Kimani 15 times since the project began. Once almost a nightly raider, he last went near a farmer’s field four months ago.

Source: SMH



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