Two very different scientific fields are partnering up in the name of conservation.
Poaching, as we know, is a massive problem across the globe and it’s extremely difficult to come up with strategies to combat it. There simply aren’t enough people to keep an eye on every endangered animal.
Now a team of astrophysicists and ecologists at Liverpool Moores University have joined forces to create a new system to stop poaching.
This system is actually quite marvellous in its simplicity. It’s basically a drone with the ability to capture animals on a video feed with thermal infrared capability. This means it works at night, which is when most poaching obviously occurs.
The best news of all is that it can survey large areas and monitor animals without disturbing them.
“With thermal infrared cameras, we can easily see animals as a result of their body heat, day or night, and even when they are camouflaged in their natural environment. Since animals and humans in thermal footage ‘glow’ in the same way as stars and galaxies in space, we have been able to combine the technical expertise of astronomers with the conservation knowledge of ecologists to develop a system to find the animals or poachers automatically,” explained Claire Burke from the Liverpool University.
The system is currently undergoing “training” to identify various animals, starting with cows, rabbits and various zoo animals.
It was also successfully implemented in South Africa last September to detect endangered Riverine rabbits.