MAR 13, 2017 3:14 PM PDT

Poachers Hijack Animal Tracking Devices Normally Used for Conservation

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

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 04, 2022
Cancer
Fiber in Green Bananas Protects from Some Cancers
AUG 04, 2022
Fiber in Green Bananas Protects from Some Cancers
Starch, a natural, sugar-containing component in many green plants, is present in high concentrations in foods such as p ...
AUG 12, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Study Shows Water Soluble CBD Has Better Absorption than Oil-Based CBD Products
AUG 12, 2022
Study Shows Water Soluble CBD Has Better Absorption than Oil-Based CBD Products
Colorado State University researchers examined the pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol (CBD) and its impact on liver functio ...
AUG 10, 2022
Health & Medicine
Newly ID'ed Langya Virus Sickens Dozens in China
AUG 10, 2022
Newly ID'ed Langya Virus Sickens Dozens in China
Zoonotic diseases, which can jump from one species to another, are not unusual. As the world's population rises and the ...
SEP 23, 2022
Microbiology
Heme-Loving Plant Peptide Could Have Many Applications
SEP 23, 2022
Heme-Loving Plant Peptide Could Have Many Applications
Symbiotic relationships enable organisms to use one another, usually to the advantage of both. Legumes can live in symbi ...
SEP 22, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Scientists Demonstrate How Air Pollution Changes the Way Plants Communicate
SEP 22, 2022
Scientists Demonstrate How Air Pollution Changes the Way Plants Communicate
In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, a team of researchers from F ...
SEP 22, 2022
Neuroscience
Machine Learning Algorithm Offers Insights into a Dog's Neural Activity
SEP 22, 2022
Machine Learning Algorithm Offers Insights into a Dog's Neural Activity
Emory University researchers decoded images from a canine brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to re ...
Loading Comments...