Friday, December 26, 2008

Elephants send SMS in Africa

I love it when technology is put to these kinds of uses!!

Elephants in Kenya are being fitted with collars which send warning text messages alerting rangers that herds of the animals are about to raid farmers' fields. The pioneering scheme allows rapid response teams to race to scare them off before they strip villages of a year's maize or banana harvest in one night. An average of 25 such 'problem elephants' are culled each year in Kenya.

Now some of the most notorious crop-raiders have been fitted with £2,500 collars which contain a mobile phone SIM card which sends an hourly GPS position to a central server in Nairobi, Kenya's capital. If the elephants stray close to a virtual 'fence' whose limits have been programmed into customised software, a text message is sent to the mobile phone of the closest wildlife rangers. They then scramble vehicles carrying spotlights and armed guards to scare the elephants away from the fields.

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