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The Green Life: Texting Elephants

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October 15, 2008

Texting Elephants

Elephant_istock_000007268987xsmallWhen Kimani the elephant goes walkabout, he alerts wildlife rangers with a text message. This pachyderm isn't texting "BB4N" or "BRB" with his agile trunk, instead he is part of an innovative program organized by Save the Elephants. The program uses Google Earth software combined with GPS collars. Mobile phone SIM cards in the collars send text messages to rangers whenever an elephant approaches a "geo-fence" along the boundaries of the 90,000 acre Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.  When rangers receive an alert that an elephant has passed through the geo-fence, they use spotlights to herd the animal back to the protected area. In the past, Kimani and his friends had the unfortunate habit of raiding villagers' farms, destroying valuable crops. Five of Kimani's fellow elephants were shot and killed during those raids. Conservationists hope that Kimani's texting collar will help him avoid future skirmishes.

Sources:  Ecoworldly, Green Daily

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