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Using Computer Science To Protect Endangered Species | Touchstone Words

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Using Computer Science to Protect Endangered Species

By Katie Lee on 2018-10-18

Scientists, researchers and zoologists alike have begun to use IoT sensors in order to protect endangered species as well as all wildlife from poachers and other threats of mankind.


Most people know what poachers are and what they do - and no they do not just poach eggs. For those who do not know, poachers are people who kill off animals not for food, but often for rare materials which they will often go on to sell. For example, elephants are often killed for their ivory tusks. This ivory is then sold to just become small, yet expensive, trinkets.

In the past, we have tried to stop poachers by posting rangers in wildlife reserves. We have even gone as far to stop rhino poachers by removing their horns as babies so that the poachers will not have any need to kill them - a sad yet effective solution. After all, what is a rhino without its horn.

Moreover, you may have seen the ads on TV which tell of the new ways we are trying to protect endangered species - through using IoT sensors and the iCloud. This is a campaign to prevent poachers from killing off animals such as rhinos and elephants for the horns and tusks.

First off, it is important to know what the term “IoT” means. IoT stands for Internet of Things. Simply put, it represents a network of devices that all transfer data to things known as IoT sensors. It functions as a predictive method in order to infer if certain events will occur and the probability of such.

But how in the world does this relate to endangered animals? These sensors actually work to predict the actions of poachers to determine where and when they are most likely to kill animals. Then rangers would be there to stop them from performing this horrible action. Since rangers cannot always be in the right place at the right time, this can prove to be our most advanced solution to date.

Currently, researchers and zoologists are focusing on the dwindling rhino population. They have decided to test these sensors in the Welgevonden Game reserve which is located in South Africa. According to a study, Africa is home to 70% of the total rhino population. Sadly, however, upwards of 7,000 rhinos have been unjustly killed over the past decade on the continent of Africa.

Bradley Schroder, the chief executive officer of the game reserve, spoke of the mission claiming, “One of our primary objectives is to protect wildlife, especially endangered species. We were looking for a solution that would help us better understand possible threats and weed out those coming from poachers so we can react ahead of time and prevent harm to animals. This project will be a profound breakthrough in the creation of connected wildlife solutions, a wildlife management concept that aims to harness IoT technology to better manage and protect wildlife and other assets.”

The sensors gather a variety of information including:

  1. Animal location
  2. Movement direction
  3. Travel speed

The sensors also predict the animal’s response to threats based on known behaviors. For instance, if the sensors know the animal will likely run from a threat (as opposed to attack or another response), it will be able to sense a threat if it picks up that the animal has not only changed direction but also started running.

These sensors and the IoT are not only important for protecting endangered species, but also for reducing e-waste, protecting against deforestation, and even monitoring marine life. This concept could prove to be a major step in both saving the planet and the organisms who live here.

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