The advancement of technology is very visible in our everyday lifestyle. It is so in wildlife as well. Technology though has had differing impacts on it. As popularly defamed, it has led to the destruction of flora and fauna to a great extent. On the other hand, it has led to the discovery of many new species that scientists did not know existed. It has also come up with sustainable alternatives to save wildlife.
In March of 2018, researchers from the Northwestern University discovered a colony of more than 1.5 million Adélie Penguins on the remote Danger Islands—more than the rest of the entire Antarctic Peninsula region combined. The presence of this colony was detected using satellite data, but it was only confirmed by the readings shown by a drone, specially built for the project by the Northeastern University researcher, Hanumant Singh.
It turns out that these elusive seabirds had lived on the islands undetected for at least 2,800 years. The Danger Islands are called so because of its hard-to-reach nature. It is almost always covered by a thick layer of sea ice all around that precludes regular censuses in this area.
With the advent of advanced technology, scientists and biologists are not only able to keep track of the known species, their population, and major threats but are further able to identify new species. The increased portability and reduced cost of data collection and synthesis tools have rapidly transformed how we research and conserve the natural world.
The use of technological applications in captivity, such as satellite imaging and assisted breeding technologies is focused to enhance animal welfare and to influence zoo visitors’ awareness of conservation-related behaviour.
“Collecting data is critical to understanding and abating threats faced by wild species,” said ecologist, award-winning conservationist, and TV host Chris Morgan. “Whether you’re out in the field tracking animal movements or designing a drone to map migration patterns, we can all play an essential role in protecting and preserving these beautiful and irreplaceable creatures.”
Just like in the case of the Adélie Penguins, the habitat of some of the rare species makes it extremely hard to get a clear picture of their population, living conditions, and general behaviour. To deal with this problem, scientists have developed devices from visual and acoustic sensors to DNA sequencers to better understand the world around us, and then combine this data with online mapping platforms to monitor it. These solutions and many others are being applied around the world to enhance international wildlife conservation practices.