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Researchers Build Robo-Rhinos to Monitor, Guard Packs, Stop Poaching

Jan 16, 2017 08:59 AM EST

Illegal wildlife trade itself is a troublesome company with climate change, as it is a $19-billion business worldwide. One of the most endangered animals of all from this conflict is the rhino, but we can't protect them 24/7.

This is why scientists and researchers have developed quite the quirky solution: robo-rhinos.

However, let's deal with hard figures first. According to Futurism, around 5,940 African rhinos were killed by poachers since 2008 -- 1,175 of them were killed in 2015 in South Africa alone.

The robo-rhino will hopefully be one of many hi-tech options explored to combat poachers. These will stay and track rhinos, and even alert patrols when poachers are nearby. According to BBC, the illegal rhino trade is a big problem, as their horns can earn anyone $60,000 to $100,000 per kilogram.

Read Also: China Announces Complete Ban on Ivory Trade by 2017

Tagged as "Rakamera," the robo-rhino is built to mimic real rhinos. They will be integrated in the wild, monitor real rhinos, and alert them if any danger appears. The undercover robot will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and will feature internal hydraulics for locomotion. It will have sensors and cameras to track rhino herds.

Wired notes that this sudden move to technology may seem to be a far-off solution, but it may actually work. This is just one of the many high-tech solutions that are being explored to combat the threat of rhino poaching.

There have been a lot of proposals on ways to prevent the blatant animal poaching. One company even wants to flood the market with 3D-printed fake horns, though it was universally opposed by conservation groups, Wired reports. Some anti-poaching groups even have gone as far as using infrared cameras, spatial monitoring tools and UAVs to catch criminals that get too close to protected areas.

Regardless, BBC said the best solution to combat this problem is to stop the demand for rhino horns themselves and break myths about these items' healing properties. There's also the need to teach conservation to others. Until then, perhaps technology will be the salvation of these creatures.

Read Also: Nowhere to Go, Elephants Seek Refuge at the Kalahari Desert 

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