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Elephant Tracking

How GPS Tracking Is Protecting Endangered Elephants From Poaching

Elephants are one of the most majestic creatures on earth. But did you know they face numerous threats including habitat loss, climate change, and illegal poaching? Yup! Sadly, the illegal poaching of elephants for their ivory tusks has become a growing concern, with populations declining at an alarming rate. This is where elephant tracking comes into play. By using GPS technology to track the movements of elephants, researchers and conservationists can gain valuable insights into their behavior and movements, helping to identify and prevent poaching activities. In this article, we will explore how wildlife GPS technology can play a crucial role in tracking and protecting endangered elephants from poaching. We will examine case studies from around the world, highlight the benefits of GPS technology for elephant tracking, and ultimately demonstrate the importance of this technology in the fight to save these magnificent creatures.

Elephant Tracking

How Elephant Tracking Works

So how are elephant tracking programs using GPS to help with conservation? The best way to explain this is by taking a closer look at the way Save The Elephants is currently using the technology. Now, let’s go over the simple 4-step process they use to help keep elephants safe from poachers:

  1. Collaring. Elephants are carefully fitted with GPS-equipped collars by trained professionals.
  2. Data Transmission. These collars record and send the location data, using satellites or cell networks for swift transmission.
  3. Analysis. Sophisticated software algorithms continuously analyze the movement data, highlighting any irregularities that could signal trouble, such as poaching.
  4. Alerts. When potential threats are detected, like an elephant remaining immobile for too long, the system sends instant alerts via SMS and email to enforcement teams.

Why is this important? Understanding the details of elephant movement is fundamental to their protection. As human populations expand, the space for wildlife shrinks, making it critical to track elephant ranges for habitat preservation. GPS tracking data is vital in creating wildlife corridors, allowing elephants to move freely and safely between conservation areas. This information shapes effective strategies to mitigate human-elephant conflicts, ensuring a harmonious coexistence. Furthermore, the immediacy of GPS tracking enables a rapid defense against poaching, altering the risk landscape for these endangered animals.

Elephant Tracking Key Points

  • Real-time Location: GPS collars provide immediate elephant positions.
  • Monitoring Software: Specialized algorithms detect and alert to potential poaching.
  • Rapid Response: Alerts enable swift action from wildlife enforcement.

Further Reading:

Elephant Tracking Conservation

Elephant Tracking Case Studies

How do GPS collars, ivory poaching, and conservation bracelets connect in the fight to save Africa’s elephants? In the upcoming case studies, we will go over the critical roles of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, the Elephant Crisis Fund, and Elephants Without Borders. Each represents a unique approach to tracking, understanding, and protecting these vulnerable giants amidst challenging environments. Here, we will confront the stark reality of elephant poaching statistics, and explain how support of conservation efforts can make a real difference.

Amboseli Elephant Research Project, Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Amboseli Elephant Research Project, Amboseli National Park, Kenya

The Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP) is a long-term study of African elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. The project was initiated in 1972 by Dr. Cynthia Moss, who specializes in elephant research and conservation. AERP uses GPS technology to track elephant movements and behavior, which is then used to inform conservation efforts.

By collaring elephants with GPS tracking devices, researchers track their movements in real-time. This allows the team to gain knowledge about migratory patterns, feeding behaviors, and social interactions. This information is then used to inform conservation efforts and protect elephants from harm.

AERP also provides educational resources for visitors to Amboseli National Park, including interactive tracking maps and stuffed animals representing the elephants of Amboseli. By supporting the Expedition Bracelet by Fahlo, a portion of all proceeds are donated to save elephants in Kenya. Here are some additional ways the research project is doing good for wild elephants:

  • By using GPS technology to track elephant movements and behavior, the project can better inform conservation efforts and protect elephants from harm.
  • Through community outreach and educational resources, the project is working to promote coexistence between humans and elephants in a rapidly changing world.
  • The sale of the Expedition Bracelet by Fahlo allows individuals to support elephant conservation efforts in Kenya, with a portion of all proceeds donated to save elephants.
  • By collaring elephants with GPS tracking devices, researchers can gain knowledge about migratory patterns, feeding behaviors, and social interactions of elephants, helping to preserve elephant corridors and reduce human-elephant conflict.
  • The project is a long-term study of African elephants, providing valuable insight into the behavior and movement patterns of these magnificent creatures, which can be used to inform conservation efforts worldwide.

The Elephant Crisis Fund, Zambia

The Elephant Crisis Fund

The Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF) is a partnership between Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network, working to stop elephant poaching and ivory trafficking. In Zambia, ECF uses GPS tracking collars to monitor elephants and alert authorities of any unusual behavior that could indicate poaching.

By collaring elephants, researchers can gain knowledge of their migratory patterns and behavior, which can inform conservation efforts and reduce the risk of human-elephant conflict. Not to mention, the tracking collars provide an early warning system for poaching activities. This is important because it allows for quick intervention to protect the elephants.

Through the purchase of the River Blue Elephant Bracelet, a portion of all proceeds are donated to fight ivory poaching and secure a future for elephants in Zambia. The bracelet features a blue desert stone, symbolizing the harsh environment that Desert Elephants have adapted to survive in.

Elephants Without Borders, Botswana

Elephants Without Borders logo

Elephants Without Borders is a non-profit organization working to conserve elephants and their ecosystems through innovative research, education, and outreach. In Botswana, Elephants Without Borders uses GPS collars to track elephant movements and identify migration patterns, which can inform land management decisions.

By understanding elephant movements, conservationists can better protect elephant corridors and reduce the risk of human-elephant conflict. By purchasing the Turtle Track Bracelet, proceeds are donated to wildlife conservation efforts in Botswana.

The bracelet features a white howlite stone, representing the colors of the Botswana flag and the elephants that call it home. The bracelet comes with a tracking card, allowing individuals to follow the journey of a specific collared elephant and gain knowledge of their amazing stories.

Through the use of GPS technology and community outreach, Elephants Without Borders is working to protect wild elephants and their ecosystems, ensuring a future for these magnificent creatures.

5 Shocking Elephant Poaching Statistics You Need To Know

Did you know that the plight of elephants due to poaching is far worse than often portrayed? Yes, the alarming statistics released by renowned conservation bodies reveal a crisis much more dire than what headlines typically capture. Here are 5 harrowing truths behind elephant conservation:

  1. Rapid Decline: The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reports over 20% drop in African elephants in just the last decade.
  2. Daily Losses: Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring network, states that approximately 55 elephants are poached daily.
  3. Population Plunge: In the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania, elephant numbers plummeted from 110,000 to 15,000 in 30 years, as per the WWF.
  4. Illegal Trade: According to an article on, the illegal ivory trade has more than doubled since 2007.
  5. Disappearing Giants: The African Wildlife Foundation warns that forest elephants have experienced a catastrophic 86% population decline in 31 years.

These statistics are more than numbers; they are an urgent call to action. Every statistic is a life, a part of the ecosystem, and a piece of heritage at risk. Therefore, we must act now to turn the tide for elephants.

Elephant In The Wild

Key Benefits Of GPS Tracking Elephants In The Wild

Did you know that tracking elephants with GPS technology offers numerous benefits for conservation and management efforts? By gathering real-time data on elephant behavior and movement, researchers can identify threats and develop effective strategies. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improved data collection and analysis, leading to a better understanding of elephant behavior and movement. GPS technology allows researchers to track elephants in real-time, providing accurate and detailed information about their movements, migratory patterns, feeding behaviors, and social interactions.
  • Early warning system for potential poaching activities, allowing for quick intervention. GPS collars allow researchers to track elephants in remote areas, and alert authorities if they detect any unusual behavior that could indicate poaching activities. This helps to reduce the risk of poaching and ensure the safety of wild elephants.
  • Helps in identifying elephant corridors and migration routes, which can inform land-use planning and conservation efforts. GPS technology allows researchers to identify key areas where elephants travel, which can help inform land-use planning and conservation efforts. This helps to preserve elephant habitats, reduce human-elephant conflict, and ensure the long-term survival of wild elephants.
  • Tracking elephants using GPS technology provides numerous benefits for conservation efforts. By purchasing an elephant tracking bracelet or making a direct donation, you can help support these efforts and protect wild elephants.

African Elephant Conservation

How You Can Take Action In Elephant Conservation

You can make a difference in the fight against elephant poaching. Your involvement, no matter how small, contributes to the larger battle to save these majestic creatures. Here’s 5 simple ways you can take action today to help in conservation efforts:

  1. Sign A Petition. Put your signature on one of the “Ban Elephant Ivory and Tusks” petitions you can find online at or organizations trying to put a halt of ivory trade.
  2. Donate to a Trusted Fund. Contribute to the Elephant Crisis Fund, which directly aids in anti-poaching efforts and protection measures. This is a simple way to help, and the best part is 100% of every dollar deployed directly to the field!
  3. Adopt an Elephant Through WWF. The World Wildlife Fund offers a symbolic elephant adoption program where your support benefits elephants directly.
  4. Volunteer with the African Wildlife Foundation. Offer your skills by volunteering for Conservation Africa, which has programs specifically aimed at saving elephants.
  5. Educate Your Circle. Everyone loves a good party. So why not host a fundraiser or awareness event in your community to educate others about elephant conservation? This can be a fun way to get dressed up, have drinks, and socialize about important things such as elephant conservation!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can GPS Technology Help Protect Endangered Elephants?

GPS technology allows researchers to track elephant movements and behaviors, which can inform conservation efforts and reduce the risk of poaching. By collaring elephants with GPS devices, researchers can gain knowledge of their migratory patterns and social interactions. This information can be used to inform land-use planning and promote coexistence between elephants and humans.

What Happens To Elephants When They Are Killed By Hunters?

When elephants fall victim to hunters, the consequences are both immediate and far-reaching. Primarily, poachers kill these magnificent creatures for their ivory tusks, a highly valued commodity on the illegal market. Here’s what typically happens:

  • Ivory Harvesting. Once an elephant is killed, poachers hastily remove the tusks, often leaving the carcass to waste. This ivory is then smuggled and sold illicitly, feeding a global black market.
  • Ecosystem Impact. The loss of an elephant disrupts its complex social network and can have detrimental effects on the ecosystem, where elephants play a critical role as keystone species.
  • Economic Loss. Local economies, particularly those relying on eco-tourism, suffer greatly. The presence of elephants is a significant draw for tourists, and their loss translates to diminished revenue.
  • Social Disruption. Within elephant herds, the death of one individual, especially a matriarch or a breeding male, can lead to social disruption and decreased survival rates for the remaining members.
  • Population Decline. As more elephants are poached, the overall population declines, pushing the species ever closer to the brink of extinction. This decline in numbers can have a lasting genetic impact on future generations.

The illegal ivory trade is not just an animal rights issue; it’s a complex crisis that affects biodiversity, local and national economies, social structures within elephant populations, and security in affected areas. Combating this trade is vital for the survival of elephants and the health of the ecosystems and communities they support

Here is a helpful video on the topic by Animal Planet:

How Are GPS Trackers Placed On Elephants?

Real time GPS trackers are typically placed on elephants by trained researchers or conservationists. The trackers are attached to a collar that is secured around the elephant’s neck. The process is non-invasive and does not harm the elephant.

Related Article: GPS Tracking Sheep

Some images in this article were generated using AI

Matthew Henson
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