STE uses GPS-tracking equipment to understand elephant lives, decisions and needs. STE founder Iain Douglas-Hamilton was the first to track elephants using radio collars and STE remains at the forefront of tracking technology.
The technology provides near-instantaneous observation of the GPS location of an animal within seconds of it being recorded by an animal’s tracking collar. Data are transmitted via satellite or the local cell phone network. Behind the scenes, a set of sophisticated software algorithms monitor incoming elephant movement datastreams and summarize complex information.
One algorithm looks specifically for elephants that become unnaturally immobile – a warning that can indicate that an elephant is in trouble. Poaching of elephants for ivory has emerged once again as a serious threat to the species. The real-time monitoring system is being applied to identify poaching events. When one occurs and is properly identified by the system, alerts are issued via SMS and e-mail to wildlife management and enforcement allowing rapid response.