MAR 13, 2017 03:14 PM PDT

Poachers Hijack Animal Tracking Devices Normally Used for Conservation

Among the many tools that experts are using to keep track of animals that are protected by conservation laws are GPS tracking devices. These allow experts to keep tabs on animals’ movement patterns and even find them in real time if need be.

Of course, it would seem that like many things in the tech world, these GPS tracking devices are easily hijacked for the use of evil.

Animal tracking devices, like this wolf collar, help experts track their movement patterns.

Image Credit: William C. Campbell/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Published in the journal Conservation Biology, it’s discussed how these electronic tagging and tracking devices emit wireless signals that can be intercepted by anyone walking around with similar wireless equipment.

Poachers who then have a desire to illegally hunt and kill these animals need only tap into the frequency being used by these devices and they can find their prize. Even if they aren’t able to hack into the data stream directly, it’s still possible to use wireless signal scanning devices to see if they’re getting closer or further away from any wireless signal-emitting devices.

"Failure to adopt more proactive thinking about the unintended consequences of electronic tagging could lead to malicious exploitation and disturbance of the very organisms researchers hope to understand and conserve," the authors write.

Also adding fuel to the fire is how many animal tracking initiatives are publicly-funded and how the public has easier access to tracking equipment now more than ever. The public argues that the data should therefore be made available to everyone, for example, for the sake of allowing photographers to get a closer look at rare and beautiful creatures. Obviously, experts are fighting back at these claims for the sake of animal conservation.

The problem here is an advancement in technology that was originally designed to help experts monitor and protect certain creatures is being used in exactly the opposite way by third-parties who aren’t supposed to have access to the information in the first place.

While poachers are certainly at the top of the list of people who we don’t want tampering with the creatures, even everyday tourists who don’t intend to harm the creatures can impose difficulties with their survival by scaring them away from their usual living quarters and forcing them into regions they’re unfamiliar with.

Some regions around the world have gone as far as banning VHF radio receiver equipment in areas where protected animals are known to reside, but these kinds of regulations aren’t world-wide, which means animals around the globe with tracking devices attached to them are still wide-open to this dilemma.

It would seem that while technology can be used for good, it can also be used for evil, and this is just one of those latter cases.

Source: Naked Security

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 28, 2018
Earth & The Environment
AUG 28, 2018
African savannas are emitting three times the CO2 than thought
The Miombo woodlands extend over 2.5 million square kilometers across Africa, passing through Angola, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. This ecosystem provi...
SEP 10, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 10, 2018
Does the Weather Impact Your Likelihood of Being Bitten by a Rattlesnake?
Venomous snakes, especially rattlesnakes, sport a somewhat salty reputation for biting humans when threatened in their natural habitat. Another frequently-...
SEP 12, 2018
Health & Medicine
SEP 12, 2018
Can This Exotic Fruit Prevent Obesity?
Not a week goes by that there isn’t a new superfood or some exotic fruit or spice that can curb your appetite, burn fat while you sleep, and boost en...
OCT 01, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 01, 2018
Plants Thicken Their Leaves in Response to High CO2 Levels, and That's Bad
Earth’s plants and animals form a symbiotic relationship. As plants convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen, animal respiration then turns it...
OCT 08, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 08, 2018
Even Land-Locked Atlantic Salmon Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Navigate
A whole host of animals exhibit magnetoreception, which is the ability to navigate from point A to point B using signals emanating from Earth’s magne...
NOV 09, 2018
Earth & The Environment
NOV 09, 2018
Can Amazon trees keep up?
New research from the University of Leeds and the collaboration of 30 global Institutions suggest that the Amazon tree diversity will not be sufficient to...
Loading Comments...