Satellite Technology in Wildlife Conservation

The time is now to act on saving endangered species. Every species of animal, large and small, affects their ecosystems and maybe even communities outside of their reach.

Something as small as the honeybee can pollinate food for a town, while a larger animal like a red wolf can cull and maintain a rabbit population so they don’t become pests.

Satellite monitoring can help provide these essential animals with the services and help they need to survive.

While humans don’t have to interfere with wildlife on most fronts, they can better use satellite technology to understand when an animal needs help or when a species is in danger. 

Technology like Google Earth is only the beginning — further developments prove to show that monitoring animals for the betterment of their species will be easier than ever.

 

Benefits of Satellite Technology

satellite technology

Satellite technology continues to advance rapidly. It’s a good thing, too: With greater technological capabilities, more species can be protected from the threat of extinction.

This world contains around 16,000 endangered species of wildlife. To best serve all of them and keep them safe from the actions of humans, satellite technology has evolved to better accommodate all researchers’ needs.

 

1. Monitor the Environment

Satellite technology allows scientists to monitor the environment around endangered species.

Small devices are used to track levels of mercury in water and soil, which allows scientists to observe and evaluate the composition of a creature’s habitat. This way, adjustments to a species’ environment can be adjusted if needed.

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Image capturing is another huge part of satellite monitoring.

Satellite images can help researchers find entire new colonies of species just by studying the environment, which happened with a species of penguin. Through this method, a species could be considered more or less endangered depending on how the newly discovered colony fares.

 

2. Monitor the Animals

Monitoring animals themselves is important to the success of an entire species. The WAMCAM Project, for example, allows researchers to identify animals that are caught in traps.

By easily tracking them down, scientists can swiftly tag animals for further research and give them any treatment they might need if they’re sick or wounded.

Similarly, satellite cameras can help track animals’ natural behaviors in their groups.

Following animals through constant monitoring can elicit a greater understanding of their endangerment status and if their living conditions promote growth or a steady decline toward extinction.

From there, scientists can determine whether to step in or allow the group to regulate itself.

 

3. Monitor Illegal Activity

Cameras can also catch the people who pledge to harm endangered species.

Researchers can eliminate poachers through drones, which track and catch illegal activities using real-time footage from their cameras.

This technology is being used in Africa to stop poachers who hunt down endangered species, and it can stretch out to environments with other near-extinct animals, too.

 

Where Satellites Fall Short

lions

Satellite technology is not without its faults, even today. Sensors and cameras can be blocked, for example.

They take pictures of what they’re supposed to, but fog or something similar might obscure the environment that needs to be observed, leading to a less-than-effective image of the landscape.

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Therefore, using technology that doesn’t work as needed for the most remote areas can lead to scientists and researchers endangering their own lives while trying to collect much-needed data while in the field.

While this technology has evolved, the risk has not yet been eliminated for researchers who strive to learn more about their environment of interest.

Unfortunately, the current size of satellite-monitored tags might be too heavy for the animals they are placed on, such as birds or small mammals.

Similarly, if the tag is battery-powered, it will run out of steam eventually and need to be replaced. Larger animals can use a solar-powered tag, which can last their entire life, instead, but this kind of technology does not yet exist for smaller animals.

 

What’s Next in Satellite Technology for Wildlife

What people should expect next from satellite technology are breakthroughs that will fill in the gaps current technology leaves.

Prioritizing human safety should always be key, so ensuring that technology aids them in the best way possible should be a priority moving forward.

To do your part, you can inform others of this technology that exists to fight against real problems in the natural world.

Show people that there are concrete ways to fight against poachers, for example, and maybe more technology can be developed to improve methods of fighting against poachers and keeping endangered wildlife safe.

Advocacy is essential, and with the help of your community, you can make a call to action that will lead to more protective measures in the future.

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