Following hot on the heels of the tale of a Raspberry Pi computer being used to help a teddy bear fall from the sky, we have now discovered that some are being used to track rhinos.
It seems that some of our horned friends who live in the Tsvao National Park in Kenya have a troubling habit of wandering off into remote areas of the park.
The endangered animals can fall prey to illegal poachers when they are out of sight of the park’s rangers, so some bright spark came up with the idea of using cameras linked to a computer to monitor their movements and their whereabouts. The Raspberry Pi devices were chosen because of the fact that they use so little energy and can therefore be placed next to remote watering holes and trails without being recharged regularly.
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The technology comes from the Instant Wild project and it is a linkup between the Zoological Society of London, the Cambridge Consultants technology firm and the Kenyan Wildlife Service.
Patrick Omondi is the deputy director of the Kenyan Wildlife Service and he said that the agency manages about 8% of the land in Kenya, so the use of these cameras is vital for keeping an eye on the animals and making sure that they are protected from poachers.
The cameras work by monitoring the area around them using motion sensors and then taking pictures when a person or animal passes them.