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GPS Tracking Rhinos

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Rhinos Wear GPS Devices In South Africa

GPS Trackers Hope To Keep Rhinos Safe From Hunters

poached_rhinoSouth Africa is one of the most beautiful and pristine places in the entire world. Only in Africa can people get a glimpse of elephant families walking through the wild to find water, lions cruise through the prairies without boundaries and majestic rhinos strut their big-horned stuff. Unfortunately, many poachers and hunters also travel to regions throughout Africa in hopes to bag some once in a lifetime game. Whether the purpose is for ivory tusks, horns or some other trophy, hunters walk into the wild with their high-powered rifles with no purpose other than to kill. The onslaught of killing by poachers has had devastating consequences to certain species of wildlife that call South Africa and surrounding areas home. Looking to put an end to the senseless violence toward majestic animals living in South Africa, the North West Park Board has begun taking steps to protect rhinos through the process of GPS tracking.

Rhinos are hunted and killed for their horns by poachers for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is because rhino horn has long been viewed as an essential ingredient in many traditional Chinese medicines. With China overtaking Japan as the world’s second largest economy, more money has been been going to the Asian country, resulting in an increase in spending by the Chinese people. Unfortunately, the improved financial conditions in China have resulted in an increase in the demand for items such as rhino horn, which has been medically proven to have zero medicinal strengths. The fight against poachers is an ongoing and seemingly never-ending problem, especially now that demand has increased for rhino horn.

Some animal conservationists believe nearly 250 rhinos were killed in South Africa this year alone by poachers looking to obtain rhino horn.

GPS Tracking: Protecting Rhinos Through Satellite Monitoring

What the North West Park Board is now doing to help protect rhinos living in the Mafikeng Game Reserve is hooking the animals up with GPS trackers. How the GPS monitoring plan is being conducted is relatively simple. First, rhinos are safely captured from the wild. Then the scientists will drill a very small hole into the horn of the rhino, placing a tracking system inside the horn that will transmit location-based information. The procedure is quick and causes no harm or pain to the rhino. Once the GPS device is placed in the horn of the rhino, scientists and other researchers can then monitor the rhino’s movements, looking for abnormal activity that suggest that the rhino is being targeted by poachers. Abnormal activity includes things such as sleeping for over 6 hours per day, or extended durations of running.

Currently, GPS tracking devices have been placed in the horns of 5 different rhinos living in South Africa.

Hopefully, through the use of GPS monitoring equipment, more poachers will be caught and arrested for the killing of rhinos. The problem is ongoing, but with dedication and drive of researchers and scientists maybe the problem will one day fade away.

Tracking System Opinion

What type of penalty should poachers face for killing animals?

Source: BBC

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