Heart activated cameras are embedded into live rhino’s horns, potentially capturing images of poachers and immediately alerting anti-poaching units to the scene.
A team of British scientists and conservationists has come up with an interesting tactic in the fight against poachers. They have combined GPS, heart rate monitors and small camera technologies into a system they are calling Protect RAPID (Real-Time Anti-Poaching Intelligence Device).
Led by Chester University’s Department of Biological Sciences’ Dr. Paul O’Donoghue, the team drills a hole into a rhino’s horn and inserts the camera, which is able to not only capture video images ahead of it, but also precisely locates the animal via GPS.
If a rhino’s heart rate elevates or stops altogether, the system triggers an alert to anti-poaching personnel that something’s wrong. They can then switch on the camera to capture a live video feed.
O’Donoghue makes the perhaps too-bold claim that “A heart rate monitor triggers an alarm the instant a poaching event occurs, and you can’t outrun a helicopter. Protect RAPID renders poaching a pointless exercise.”
Such a declaration seems a bit too hopeful. After all, “the instant a poaching event occurs” means that a poaching event has occurred.
Nevertheless, the RAPID system may indeed allow anti-poaching units to reach the scene in time to capture some poachers, which itself would be a huge positive step in the war against the illegal killing of animals. Most poaching incidents occur with the guilty parties getting away, only to repeat their crimes again later.
Right now the system is in the prototype stage, but it is expected to be in wider use in 2016. Developers of the RAPID system also hope to use the device in protecting other endangered animals, including lions, tigers, elephants and whales.