News / Asia

    Military Technology Offers Hope for Malaysian Wildlife

    Ivan Broadhead
    Since independence in 1957, Malaysia has been one of Asia’s success stories. Despite rapid economic growth and urbanization, the country remains home to large tracts of pristine rainforest. Incursions by wildlife poachers from Thailand and Vietnam, however, are a growing problem. Conservationists are adopting, and adapting, new technology to help save the country’s endangered species.
     
    Government rangers are on night patrol in Belum Tenegor forest - just 12 men protecting the rare elephants, tigers and bears that inhabit this 4,000-square-kilometer wilderness of northern Malaysia.

    “The proportion of elephants here is more female than male because of poaching. They kill the male because they want the tusk. So maybe only 10 to 15 percent are male. We are trying our best to overcome this problem,” said Kadir Hashim is director of state wildlife.

    Cutting-edge

    Some of the solutions for conserving Malaysia’s elephants are being developed at the Kuala Lumpur campus of Nottingham University.

    Researchers from the government and the British school’s Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants - or MEME project - are refining technologies to support elephant conservation and fight poaching.

    With assistance from the conservationdrones.org initiative, they are even adapting military technologies including remotely piloted drones.  

    “For this particular model, we aim to have a flying time of around 60 minutes," said research associate Wee-Siong Lim. "And, a range of about 50 kilometers. That should give us enough coverage to look at the elephants’ habitat. Infrared cameras would allow us to penetrate through the tree tops - the canopy and see what is underneath: could it be wildlife, could it be poacher activities.”

    Remaining conflicts

    But it's is not all plain sailing.

    The more successful conservationists are, the more competition there is between wildlife and Malaysia’s growing human population for scarce land and resources.

    “Our village lies on the edge of the forest," said Rahim Banun, a community leader. "Safety has improved since an electric fence was erected last year to keep elephants away. But they still try to break in and eat our crops. A few weeks ago, a herd of elephants destroyed this house looking for food. Six children escaped but everything was crushed and caught fire.”

    Protecting villages

    Professor Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz explained how researchers are tracking elephants to help keep villagers safe.

    “What we see is an animation of data collected through the GPS satellite collar on the elephants to see where they are moving on the landscape. Technology overall is allowing us to do things that 15 years ago we would not have expected," said Campos-Arceiz.

    "We are using GPS collars. We are using camera traps to see what is going on in the forest. We are using drones. Wildlife poaching is an arms race between enforcement forces and the poachers. At the same time we acquire new tools, they do, too. So we need to stay one step ahead of them,” said Campos-Arceiz.

    On the Nottingham football field, another drone is prepared for a test flight. With it, the adoption of military technology to protect Malaysian wildlife moves one step closer to reality.

    Listen to report on new technologies used to fight poaching
    Listen to report on new technologies used to fight poachingi
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora