Move over traditional tracking devices, the cell phone just got handier. Kenyan authorities now have their phones buzzing with text messages from elephants, warning the officials of their unauthorized presence in villagers' crop fields. Bull elephants stray outside the 35,000-hectare Oi Pejeta conservancy borders, raiding crops and wiping out entire six months' harvest at a time. As farmers only have their crops for a livelihood, the Kenyan Wildlife Service was compelled to shoot five of them down. The Save the Elephants Group decided to use the cell phone messaging service as an alternative to killing the animals. The elephants now have mobile phone sim cards inserted into their collars and a virtual 'geofence' has been set up using a global positioning system.
This system tracks the conservatory's boundaries and activates the sim card that automatically sends a text message if they stray near farms. The rangers then use spotlights to frighten the elephants back inside the conservancy. But with elephant numbers increasing, will this measure work for long?
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.