Rhinos, tigers and elephants could be saved from poachers by their own heart beats, a global-tracking device and a video camera.
“The heart rate monitor triggers the alarm the instant a poaching event occurs, pinpointing the location within a few meters,” Paul O’Donoghue, chief scientific adviser for British conservation company Protect, who designed the device, said in a statement. “Rangers can be on the scene via helicopter or truck within minutes.” Poachers won’t have time to harvest parts of the animals or make a successful escape if the device is used, he said.
A record 1,215 rhinos were killed illegally in South Africa last year, with the majority hunted in Kruger National Park, while Tanzania’s elephant population has declined 60 percent since 2010 due to increased levels of poaching. Wild tiger populations in countries like Vietnam and India are dwindling. Protect is ready to start field trials of the invention -- called a Real-time Anti Poaching Intelligence Device -- in some of the affected areas, it said.
“We finally have the technology to catch these people red handed, and if they know that, then they’ll think twice before killing another beautiful rhino,” Ricky Gervais, British comedian, actor and anti-poaching activist, said in the statement. “Finally we might have a fighting chance of saving this astonishing species from extinction.”