How can technology innovations help protect animals? In the past century alone, over 90 known species of animal have become extinct and the numbers rise every day that passes. The numbers of animal species in the wild are now only half of what they were 30 years ago and many species are now highly endangered. This collapse of fragile ecosystems is now one of the top ten threats facing humanity.
We know that the advancement of science and technology can improve the quality of life for humans, but technological innovation can also play an critical role in protecting the environment. This was the focus of the 2019 BIEA STEM Conference and is the rationale behind our 2019 International STEM Youth Innovation Competition.
How can technological innovation work towards protecting animals? We had the pleasure of listening to Joshua Veitch- Sharing, Researcher in the Liverpool John Moore University at our conference. In his presentation ‘Astro-ecology: astrophysics meets conservation biology’ he explained how the current crisis of wild animal populations comes not only from the deterioration of their natural environments, but also the malicious hunting done by people. He pointed out that although important work is done by anti-poaching rangers, there are limits to what a few people in the field can achieve. Joshua explained how using drones can assist people in the battle against poachers.
Drones can be used for identification of animal species and give meaningful insights into their population numbers and movements, especially using the high-altitude, infrared imaging function which provides data for counting animals both during the day and at night. He also described how the impressive infrared sensors on a drone can help anti-poaching rangers by detecting and pinpointing the position of hunters at night, allowing the rangers to .target their resources to the appropriate areas.
Joshua’s work gave us insight of how the diverse use of drones can support the work of animal protection officers and researchers. With the launch of our 2019 International STEM Youth Innovation Competition, ‘Fighting Extinction via Drone Technology,’ young people from all over the world now also have the chance to design and develop their own creative ideas for using drones to help protect endangered animals. Register now at https://bit.ly/2DIIGup and spread the word!