Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Planet Earth

Attention Poachers: That Deer Just Might Be a Robot

DiscoblogBy Rachel CernanskyMay 7, 2009 7:44 PM
deer.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Robots really seem to be catching on as a tool for environmental defense. Even if they're animal decoys: robot animals that look—and act—just like the real things. Why would such a machine be useful? Well, for one, they're great at trapping would-be poachers. Wildlife officials are up against a hunting season where for every animal killed legally, there's another one killed illegally. State officers hide out near the strategically-placed decoys, and when poachers approach, the officers act quickly, jumping from bushes and shouting things like, "Game and Fish Department! Cease fire! Put down your weapon!" The decoys are actually fiberglass models wrapped in real hides (from animals that were illegally killed, or provided by government officers), and their eyes are designed to glow when light is shined on them. So far, models exist for turkeys, swimming moose, white-tailed deer and black bears. Inside the "animals"—which cost up to $5,500 each, depending on the animal (turkeys are only $500)—are radio-controlled motors that allow wildlife officers to move a decoy's head, ears, and tail using a remote control. Whether the deer have "Bambo" capabilities remains to be seen. Related Content: Discoblog: Pollution, Beware: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Robot Fish! Discoblog: Washing Pollution Away with Golden Showers

Image: Flickr / Birdfreak.com

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In