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GPS Tracking Rhinos

“Each day, they look at what we call the Google map of rhinos,” - Marion Moreau

GPS Tracking Rhinos: A Revolutionary Approach to Conservation and Anti-Poaching

Did you know animal conservationists believe that nearly 250 rhinos were killed in South Africa tin 2022 alone by poachers looking to obtain rhino horns? Sadly, this onslaught has pushed South Africa’s rhinos into a dire struggle for survival. Yet, in the face of this brutality, conservationists are mounting a defense with a cutting-edge ally: GPS tracking technology. This article takes you into the heart of their efforts, unveiling the critical tactics that are turning the tide for these endangered giants. We will discuss into the impact of GPS on conservation and discover how this strategic innovation is providing a lifeline for rhinos, offering not just hope but a real chance for their continued existence.

GPS Tracking Rhinos

How Can We Tackle The Problem Of Rhino Poaching – BBC YouTube Video

Case Study: Sigfox’s Breakthrough in Rhino Conservation

In Zimbabwe, a sprawling wildlife preserve larger than the Grand Canyon National Park has become the forefront of a groundbreaking conservation effort. The preserve is home to rhinos that roam with sensors embedded in their horns, part of Sigfox Foundation‘s pioneering project, “Now Rhinos Speak.” This case study explores how GPS tracking is addressing the dire problem of rhino poaching.

Poaching poses a severe threat to rhinos. To illustrate, in 2018 alone, South Africa reported the killing of 769 rhinos. From a global population of around 500,000 at the start of the 20th century, only about 28,000 remain today, with three species critically endangered. Sigfox’s tracking technology emerges as a crucial solution in this crisis.

The Sigfox sensors, implanted in the horns of rhinos, transmit GPS locations thrice daily to solar-powered base stations. These stations relay the data to rangers via a mobile app. Marion Moreau, head of the Sigfox Foundation, describes the impact: “Each day, [rangers] look at what we call the Google map of rhinos,” highlighting the real-time surveillance capability provided to conservationists.

Key Features Of GPS

  • Real-time GPS tracking, enabling rangers to monitor rhino movements and quickly respond to potential threats.
  • Alerts that notify rangers when rhinos approach dangerous areas near park borders, where they are more vulnerable to poachers.
  • A secure system that is difficult for poachers to hack, thus safeguarding the animals’ locations.

The trackers are not only revolutionary in their functionality but also in their design and cost. Unlike traditional radio collars or expensive drones, these sensors are unobtrusive and low-cost, at around $50 each, making them accessible for broader conservation use. The small battery inside the device can function for up to three years, demonstrating a significant advancement in wildlife tracking technology.

As Sigfox moves into large-scale production, the technology’s potential extends beyond rhinos. The intention is to adapt these sensors for other endangered species, offering a new hope in wildlife conservation. This case study not only showcases the innovative use of GPS tracking in combating poaching but also underscores the importance of technology in preserving endangered species.

The Lure of Rhino Horn in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Chinese Black Market

Poachers relentlessly hunt rhinos for one primary reason: the high demand for rhino horn. In traditional Chinese medicine, rhino horn is a coveted ingredient.  In fact rhino horn is believed to cure a range of illnesses, from fevers to cancer. Despite scientific studies debunking these medical claims, the belief persists.

Your understanding of this crisis is vital. Rhino horns fetch up to $60,000 per kilogram on the black market, more valuable than gold or cocaine. This high value drives the illegal trade, fueling poacher’s pursuits. With China’s economic boom, more individuals can afford such luxuries, exacerbating the threat to rhinos.

Consider these points that highlight the issue:

  • Rhino horn is revered in various cultures for its supposed healing properties, none scientifically proven.
  • The demand for rhino horn has surged with the rise of disposable income in Asian economies.
  • Nearly 7,100 African rhinos have been lost to poaching over the past decade.

You now see the scope of the challenge conservationists in Africa face. Poaching is not just an act of cruelty; it’s driven by deep-seated cultural beliefs and economic forces. Understanding this is crucial in framing the fight against rhino poaching, but thankfully GPS tracking is helping in this fight.

Benefits Of Tracking Rhinos With GPS

You’ve likely heard of tracking solutions for vehicles or personal items, but did you know that similar technology is helping protect rhinos? Rhinos, particularly those in South Africa, face immense threats due to poaching and habitat destruction. Enter GPS tracking for poaching prevention.

  • Live Locational Information. Using GPS trackers, anti-poaching units can keep real-time tabs on rhinos, helping protect the species from threats. These tracking devices, sometimes designed as custom collars, provide constant location tracking data.
  • Poaching Prevention. The positioning system alerts the anti-poaching units when a rhino’s movements are unusual, which could suggest a poaching attempt. This swift alert system reduces the amount of time between a potential poaching event and a response.
  • Fleet Management and Asset Tracking. With the help of GPS tracking solutions, farm managers can use the same technology employed in fleet tracking for effective asset tracking. Each rhino, a valuable asset, can be monitored just like vehicles in a fleet.
  • Long-Lasting Battery Life. Battery-powered GPS tracking devices ensure a longer device battery life. This increases the duration of protection for each animal, offering a greater chance for poaching prevention.
  • Temperature Tolerance and Durability. The custom collars are designed with a high-temperature tolerance to withstand harsh African conditions. Moreover, they include a 3-axis accelerometer to handle the rough movements of rhinos.

Remember, the goal is to leverage technology like GPS trackers and asset tracking devices for the conservation of wildlife. This innovation goes beyond traditional uses, such as fleet management. TG Tracking’s unique approach shows us that technology can indeed contribute significantly to safeguarding the world’s rhino population.

Related Content: GPS Tracker For Wildlife

Rhino In Africa


How Does GPS Tracking Help In Conserving Black Rhinos?

GPS technology helps in tracking the movement patterns of black rhinos, which helps conservationists to identify the areas where the animals are most active. This information can be used to establish protected areas and corridors, which are crucial for the survival of the species. By monitoring the rhinos’ movements, researchers can also identify potential threats, such as poaching, and take action to prevent them.

Source: “Tracking rhinos with GPS to help stop poaching” – BBC News

How Accurate Are GPS Tracking Devices For Black Rhinos?

GPS technology is very accurate and can provide real-time data on the location of black rhinos. This helps conservationists to monitor the animals’ movements and behavior, which is crucial for their protection. GPS tracking can also be used to establish the rhinos’ home ranges and preferred habitats, which can inform conservation efforts.

Can GPS Tracking Help In Preventing The Extinction Of Black Rhinos?

Yes, GPS technology is a valuable tool in the fight against the extinction of black rhinos. By tracking the animals’ movements and behavior, conservationists can identify areas that are critical for their survival and take action to protect them. This can include establishing protected areas, increasing patrols to prevent poaching, and implementing other conservation measures.

Source: “GPS tracking helps protect endangered black rhinos” – Mongabay

Join the Movement: Support Rhino Conservation Today

The battle to save rhinos from the brink of extinction is not just a fight for conservationists—it’s a call to action for all of us. The use of GPS tracking technology has opened a new frontier in the protection of these majestic creatures, but it requires widespread support to succeed.

We urge you to become a part of this vital cause. Your contribution, whether through donations, raising awareness, or engaging in community advocacy, can make a significant difference. Support organizations like the Sigfox Foundation, which are leading the charge in deploying innovative technologies for wildlife conservation. Every dollar, every voice, every shared article expands the reach and effectiveness of these initiatives.

Donate to Conservation Efforts:

  • Choose a reputable wildlife conservation organization and contribute financially.
  • Sponsor a rhino or adopt a rhino program, where your funds go directly to the care and protection of these animals.

Spread the Word:

  • Share articles and stories about rhino conservation on social media.
  • Educate friends and family about the importance of rhinos to ecosystems and the threats they face.

Advocate for Policy Change:

  • Contact your representatives to push for stronger wildlife trafficking laws.
  • Participate in campaigns and petitions that aim to influence policy at both national and international levels.

Stay Informed:

  • Follow conservation groups and news platforms for updates on rhino conservation efforts.
  • Attend webinars and workshops to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and strategies in wildlife protection.

Volunteer Your Time:

  • Look for opportunities to volunteer with local conservation projects, even if it’s just helping to raise awareness.
  • Consider remote volunteer opportunities such as digital advocacy or fundraising for conservation organizations.

Your active participation is crucial. Whether it’s through donations, education, or advocacy, your actions today contribute to a future where rhinos roam free and secure. Take a stand for these magnificent animals and the preservation of our natural world.

Related Article: GPS Tracking Elephants 

Some images in this article were generated using AI

Matthew Henson
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