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.

Technology

Text Messaging: The New Way to Track Elephants

DiscoblogBy Nina BaiOctober 14, 2008 9:26 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

elephant.jpg

Farmers near the Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya used to have to bang on pots and pans and wave burning sticks to keep elephants from destroying their crops.Now they rely on GPS and text messaging.

Kimani, a bull elephant who used to be a habitual farm raider, has been sporting a collar with GPS and a cell phone SIM card attached and maintained by the advocacy group Save the Elephants.Whenever he approaches the virtual “geofence” on the boundaries of the conservancy, a text message is sent to rangers who swiftly arrive to drive him back.

Using the text method, rangers have prevented potential human-elephant conflicts 15 times in the last two years, and Kimani now rarely approaches farms.

Ian Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants, compares the animals to teenagers—reforming one habitual crop raider can change the habits of the whole herd.

The GPS system is also used to track the elephants’ migrations and prevent poaching. You can keep up with the elephants on Google Earth.Whether the elephants will start Twittering remains to be seen.

Related Content:

Reality Base: Twitter Coverage DISCOVER: Tusk Tales 80beats: Memories of Hard Times Might Help Elephants Survive Global Warming Discoblog: That Elephant Can Smell You From a Mile Away

Image: flickr/ Tambako the Jaguar

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