Finding the right opening for an article can often take me some time, especially when the subject of my content is a serious matter, but I really didn’t want to ease anyone into those numbers. Such devastating statistics warrant undiluted attention.
African Elephant populations have declined by 97% over the past 100 years. It’s a scary statistic and one that isn’t only reflective of a single species, with the World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report finding that humans have caused total wildlife numbers to fall by 60% globally in just 50 years.
It’s natural to feel a sense of futility when faced with this data, powerless to help the ever-worsening situation that our very existence contributes to. But not all human development comes at the cost of the planet’s precious ecosystem – our technology is also being used in environmental fields to preserve animal numbers and restore some balance.
I was invited to talk to Dr. Michelle Henley, Co-founder, CEO, and Principal Researcher at Elephants Alive about how the non-profit’s collaboration with Dell Technologies is helping to facilitate field research in conservation efforts to save the African Elephant.
The Elephants Alive charity has been in operation since 2003, known then as Save the Elephants, and states that its mission is to “ensure the survival of elephants and their habitats, and to promote harmonious co-existence between elephants and people”. Dr. Henley’s work involves, amongst other important things, identifying elephants and their movements using advanced GPS and GMS technology in order to understand their habitat use.
Elephants are distinguished via ear shapes, with each being as unique as a human fingerprint. Where simple pencil and paper were once used as the main tool to help log these wonderful animals, hardy laptops and tablets can now be taken on trails to take up to 800 high-quality photographs a day, all while withstanding the harsh environment. This clearly isn’t a job for a sleek, stylish Ultrabook.
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