Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Conservationists to Microchip Rhinos to Track Poachers

White rhinoceros

Wildlife conservationists in South Africa have established a new anti-rhino poaching program, in which they microchip the animals with GPS tracking devises. The microchips are inserted inside the animals' horns as a way to combat the illegal poaching. The Mafikeng Game Reserve in the nation's North West province has had five rhinos fitted with GPS tracking devices, as stated by the National Parks Board. Many of these chips are connected to a computer monitoring station at the game reserves' headquarters, which will allow rangers to track every movement of the rhinos. It is also contemplated that the system will be used to track rhino horns being illegally smuggled abroad.

According to park enforcement officer, Rusty Hustler, the animals' movements will be tracked 24/7 and if they are shot, the park rangers will be alerted through an alarm system. He further added that the alarm system sets off if a rhino lies motionless for more than six hours, becomes unusually active, or wonders off a game park's borders. Once the alarm is set off, a "reaction team" will be dispatched. Many of these microchips were fitted last April, and over the last six months, have been a success. The board of provincial parks has intentions on tagging more rhinos in later weeks.

I'm very proud to see that South Africa has found a way to track poachers; which in this case, is through technology. By planting GPS microchips inside horns of live rhinos, they will definitely track down the poachers. However, I also know that these poachers are smart and they definitely learn from their mistakes. I also hope that while keeping track of poachers, the authorities and conservationists will also come up with some new tactics in order to curb down rhino poaching in South Africa.

View article here

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