Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Google Funds Technological Advancements in Conservation

An interesting paradox has been observed recently that efforts to protect a species by changing its status on endangered lists significantly increases its illegal market price, which actually boosts its desirability to poachers. Some people have even suggested that we refrain from listing species in scenarios where this may happen until we have appropriate protections in place. However in many cases there is simply not enough money, technology and manpower available to provide decent protection. This may be soon to change though as technology becomes forever cheaper and public awareness of conservation slowly improves.

Today Google gave the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) a grant of $5 million to put towards fighting poaching using state-of-the-art technologies such as remote aerial surveying, specialized sensors and new tagging methods. Coupled with new patrol systems it is hoped that these technologies can provide more effective protection against global poaching networks, which are becoming increasingly more sophisticated. The trafficking of wildlife is estimated to be worth $7-10 billion per year so this is clearly not going to solve the entire problem, but hopefully it can provide a solid base from which further anti-poaching efforts can build.

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