GPS Trackers Used In Poaching Crisis
In a rural region near Nairobi, Kenya sits a beautiful cabin nestled in a rustic area. This cabin is significant for many people because it is the location where Prince William, the future King of England, proposed to his now-wife Kate Middleton. However, the area is making news headlines for a much less joyful reason. What has been happening in this region is something that representatives for the organization “Save The Elephants” are calling a “Poaching Crisis”. GPS tracking systems, tools used to monitor animal movements in real-time, have been fitted to elephants in the Nairobi area for a long time by scientists conducting research and observing elephant populations. However, many of the GPS trackers fitted to the animals are detailing a frightening epidemic that appears to be occurring, mass-poaching for ivory tusks.
Elephants Being Targeted By Poachers
Placing GPS-enabled collars on elephants is nothing new for most animal researchers, but when Save The Elephants placed real-time GPS tracking systems on seven (7) elephants the research uncovered that four (4) of the seven elephants fitted with the satellite monitoring technology were killed by poachers near the foothills of Mount Kenya. The elephants had the GPS collars on for less than a few months before they were killed. Although animal poaching has been a significant problem facing the majestic wildlife that roams the African nation of Kenya for over a century, the economic strides made by Asian countries such as China have created a recent spike in the demand for ivory tusks. This is because the ivory tusks of elephants are thought to hold many healing properties by many Chinese traditionalists. “We are noticing more and more Chinese nationalists having ivory in their travel luggage when they are being searched at the airport, leading us to believe that the Chinese are still involved in this illegal practice”, stated an official working for Save The Elephants.
Although the recent inhumane and untimely deaths of the four elephants being monitored with the real-time tracking systems are not going to place a substantial dent in the population of approximately 30,000 elephants who call Kenya home, there is no way of accurately calculating the number of elephant killings of those animals who are not fitted with GPS transmitters. Not to mention, these killings are often described as very horrific, as the elephants who are robbed of their ivory tusks are often left starving and bleeding to death in fields for many days before they finally succumb to their fatal injuries.
Poachers are also not taking any chances by making certain that when they kill the elephants that they remove the GPS tracking devices that are tracking the animal movements. When researchers or locals come across the elephant corpses they usually find the GPS collars decorated with AK-47 bullets.
Sadly, organizations such as Save The Elephants are still very limited with manpower and financial resources to stop the senseless killing of the beautiful and innocent elephants and their calves, but they still do everything in their power to help these animals live a full, long, and happy life in the wild free from poachers.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.