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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More