I remember running across a live video nature site a couple years back that let me connect with the world from my desk.  I re-checked the site and it has continued to expand, adding additional live cameras to several other categories.  I knew the site from watching live footage of the Katmai Bears at Brooks Falls and enjoyed the experience of seeing live bears catch fish at any time of the day, not edited, but live as they would be out in the wild.  In addition to the Bears they now have Pandas, African River Wildlife, Long Eared Owl, Sauces Bald Eagles, Ecad Puppies, and Big Cat Rescue.

I suggest everyone take some time to get outdoors and explore the world at this site.  There are so many great videos and live cameras that most everyone should be covered by something on this site.

http://explore.org

As I’m writing this I selected the African River Wildlife and incredibly the cameras has panned over to a large boulder in the river that I’m sure will come alive and present itself as a Hippo.  This has inspired me this morning and could present an excellent way for thousands of people around the world to take notice of these animals and also Rhinos.  It may serve another purpose as well by allowing people to help monitor cameras and protect the Rhinos.

I looked into how I can get a camera specifically for Rhinos but upon reviewing the site it looks like these cameras cost upwards of $400,000 and were provisioned for by grants and other larger pledges.  I don’t think James Comfort is prepared to step up to that level yet, but something to keep in mind for the future.  For now I can just spread the message on this live video nature site.

Technology can save Rhinos by advancing our ability to monitor through cameras, movement sensors, information, and drones. The advancement and implementation of these technologies is critical in the effort to stop poaching. Today there are thousands of square miles of protected wilderness in remote regions around the world. But without someone to watch over those areas the protection doesn’t occur. Mostly understaffed or under-budgeted, these protection areas are serving as a beacon for poachers looking for endangered animals such as Rhinos. With new drone and camera technology we may soon be able to implement strategies to monitor large areas for animal activity and poachers. Drones serve as a short term approach as they can only stay up for a short period of time. A more consistent approach may require that small balloons are put in the air on a tether with a camera hanging for monitoring a large area.

If the Rhinos are tagged with beacons or tracking devices the logic can be implemented in a system to have the camera track the Rhino’s location. This may not prevent poachers immediately, however the ability to review camera footage would provide invaluable information for tracking down and punishing those responsible.  Check out this Rhino Foundation actively using drones to enhance support and protection: https://www.savetherhino.org/rhino_info/thorny_issues/the_use_of_drones_in_rhino_conservation

Technology should be viewed as an opportunity to proactively prevent further murder of Rhinos and other endangered animals. One camera high in the air to monitor a large area may prove more effective than 20 people on the ground. As a reactive approach drone technology can save rhinos by quickly obtaining information on an area or particular animal suspected to be under stress.  This is even more advantageous where a car may be invasive, possibly dangerous (if poachers or animals are present), and much slower to traverse the terrain.

I would like to see more charities that collect millions of dollars for Rhino preservation enhance their use of such technologies for large scale implementation. The results would likely prove that technology can save Rhinos and many other species.