Monday, June 20, 2005

Three tree texting leopards

Hey, someone switched to tree texting! Imagine this…Getting a text message from a leopard? This is no joke, says professor Wouter van Hoven of the University of Pretoria's Center for Wildlife Management. He is heading up a project that tracks three leopards in the Waterberg region of South Africa's Limpopo Province, using a combination of cellphone and GPS, or global positioning system, technology.
African Wildlife Tracking, headed by Martin Haupt, is the company behind the wireless animal tracking system that Van Hoven is using in his leopard project.
"Haupt said getting a text message from a leopard - or an elephant, cheetah, rhino or lion - was increasingly frequent in South Africa. Many game reserves or conservation areas have wild animals that are fitted with collared tracking devices.

The device is fitted around the animal's neck
, Haupt said.
On the collar you have batteries, a GPS, a VHF transmitter and a cellphone.
The cellphone, he said, is a "no frills" mobile phone about 2 centimeters, or 0.8 inch, long and 3 millimeters thick.
Professor Van Hoven explained how the technology works for his leopard research purposes:
The collar on the animal is programmed to send out four SMSs a day, every six hours, and that SMS is linked to a GPS, so every six hours the collars register the exact global position of where the animal is. That is then fed to the cellphone. The cellphone then sends the SMS, which is the position information of the animal.

[Via IHT]


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