Pin Me

Using SIM Card Technology to Help Save Endangered Elephants

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 2/28/2010

It sounds crazy, but it's true. According to a CBS.com report, Kenya is using the SIM card technology to help conservationist to stop endangered elephants from leaving their habitats and causing damage to homes and other nearby structures.

  • slide 1 of 1

    You probably would not think that the same technology used in some cell phones to store phone numbers and other phone Elephant information could be used to save endangered elephants from harm. People in Kenya have started to use the technology and text messaging in order to protect the animals and the citizens of the area where the increasing population is giving people less room to roam around. The technology texts the people watching an elephant by the name of Kimani to alert them when he approaches a virtual “geo-fence" to keep him safe from harm—and to keep the crops belonging to nearby farmers safe, too. Using the same principle as the invisible dog fence and the shock collar, the SIM card that has been placed in Kimani’s collar sends text messages to rangers when he gets too close to the boundary.

    Kimiani was known for escaping his habitat almost nightly and eating the crops that an area farmer depended on for his income. Animal caretakers were concerned that not only would Kimani get hurt, but he would cause tremendous issues for those around him, and soon developed the technology that has stopped him from escaping 15 times since they began using it.

    On record, Kenya has reports of elephants being hurt and kille as they venture into what was once their feeding grounds by have now been settled by human populations. This technology helps both the elephants and people to protect everyone. Soon we hope to see the technology being used to protect all the endangered animals from such harm, and not just in Kenya, but all over the world. A SIM card is small enough to ensure against harm to the animal, and really is an ingenious way to solve an issue of keeping animals out of the way of those that would do them harm.

    As of now the project is very small with some issues that still need to be worked out, as there are only two geo-fences setups in the area for use. The venture is expensive as the collars require replacement after a few years when the batteries wear down and requires five full time rangers on staff at all times to be on alert in standby vehicles to respond to any text messages they may receive.