Wild Rhinos Get GPS Implants To Deter Poachers

Park vets have implanted tiny GPS (Global Positioning Systems) into the horns of five rhinos in South Africa’s Mafikeng Game Reserve to help protect these endangered animals from poachers.

The GPS chips were fitted into the rhinos’ horns by drilling a small hole in the inert or dead part of the horn (BBC).

The devices allow park officials to monitor the rhinos’ every movement, and can issue alarm signals if something out of the ordinary occurs.

“It’s basically a satellite system which connects with the cell phone system and we can monitor the animals on whatever time delay we want,” Rusty Hustler, head of security for North West Parks Board, told BBC News.

Alarms can be programmed for excessive movement, so that park rangers will know if a rhino is being chased, as well as for excessive sleep, so that rangers will know whether the animal has been unconscious for more than six hours.

The chip can also inform trackers if an animal has wandered outside the confines of the preserve, putting it in extreme danger from poachers. Even if officials can’t catch the poachers in the act, the tracking devices could help them recover the animals before they are killed.

Rhino horn is a highly sought-after ingredient in ancient Chinese medicines, and in September, supermodel Elle Macpherson admitted to eating powdered rhinoceros horn as a “beauty treatment”.

South African officials have seen more than 200 rhinos slaughtered since the first of the year.

PETITION: Ask Elle Macpherson to Stop Taking Rhino Horn

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Image Credit: Flickr - Mister-E

79 comments

W. C
W. C3 months ago

Thanks.

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William C
William C3 months ago

Thank you.

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Andras C.
Andras C4 years ago

I agree with Christian R.
I still say poach the poachers for a big reward.

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Joy Wong
Joy W4 years ago

I agree with you, Marlene D, Hope S and Ken R.

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Christian R.
Land Lost4 years ago

it's a nice thought, but i don't think anyone would be able to arrive in time to help a rhino if it was in danger. on the other hand if the poachers didn't notice the tracking device it might be useful for catching whoever was trafficking the goods.

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Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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LMj Sunshine

Hope it helped, thank you.

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LMj Sunshine

Hope it helped, thank you.

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Susan Griffiths
Susan Griffiths5 years ago

I agree with the last two comments from Hope and Ken. It is a fabulous idea for rhinos and all wild animals PROVIDED the hunters don't find a way to use the chips to aid them in their crimes. This has happened before - hunters tapping in on these chips. So the technology and use of it always has to be constantly monitored to keep ahead of the disgusting hunters.

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Hope S.
Hope S5 years ago

Interesting idea if the poachers also don't use it. Perhaps shooting the poachers would really make an impact on them.

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