GPS tracking is helping tigers and humans coexist in Nepal

Earlier this week we shared how AI tracking is saving elephant populations in Africa. Now, it turns out that tech innovations could help protect tigers in Nepal in a very similar way. 

Significant progress has been made in wild tiger conservation in Nepal with the population doubling from 2009 to 2018, but the expansion of transportation networks, specifically roads and railways, poses a threat to this growth. Researchers are particularly concerned about a specific “mega highway” under construction from the capital of Kathmandu to Nijgadh

To ensure tiger safety, researchers from the University of Michigan are working with the Nepal Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, the National Trust for Nature Conservation, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in Nepal to place GPS collars on tigers living near roadways to understand how transportation infrastructure affects tiger biology and ecology. 

With advanced GPS technology, the team can see how tigers move around roads, how far they travel, and how these networks affect their behavior. Researchers are concerned about both vehicle collisions with tigers as well as how busy roads affect their wellbeing and habitat. 

Using this data, Nepal’s environmental organizations plan to present a plan for more tiger-friendly infrastructure expansion which avoids critical habitat areas. It can also be used to build more effective wildlife crossing areas and even avoid negative interactions between farmers and tigers by better understanding their hunting strategies. 

Human population expansion poses a threat to wildlife, but innovative technology is helping to provide a solution for helping humans and animals live in harmony. 

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