The advancement of technology in recent couple of decades is just ridiculous. When was the last time you pressed the keypads of your phone multiple times just to SMS? Now, you don’t even have a keypad in your phones!
That’s might sound good, and indeed development and improvement in technology is something good. What makes thing better is that the advancement in technology doesn’t only happen to our smartphones, but also to the technologies that can save our nature.
In example, here we are going to show you how technology can help us know polar bear better, and response to their conditions better.
But Why Polar Bear?
Polar bear is like a symbol of animals that suffer the most due to climate change. The far cousin of grizzly bear is the first species that shows up when you search for climate change in search engines. Indeed, climate change brings huge threat to this fluffy white bear.
Not only owing to the decline of their food source, but also their living areas. This kind of bear usually can be found in northern hemisphere of the earth, near the arctic circle. The ice they usually rest on is now forming later and fall apart earlier, which makes the hunting process more difficult for them.
Some evidence even reported that the polar bears are looking for alternative sources of food because their hunting field is less supportive now. Not only that, their snow-white fur which is the result of adaptation and evolution to colder temperature are now seen to get dull.
The reason is likely because the temperature where they live in gets warmer and those fur are not helpful anymore. So, in the future, in order to adapt to current condition, the features of the fur that help them survive in cold climate may be eliminated.
They may evolve to warmer temperature (if they can survive the climate change) and when we find a way to cool the earth again it will be too late for the future polar bears. They possibly will not be able to come back to the ice anymore.
The Polar Bear’s Eye View
Now, let’s talk about the first technology that can bring hope to the population of the cute animal. This technology is about tracking down the habits and food of a polar bear, using its very own point of view. It is made possible thanks to this camera.
The camera will provide the latest point of view footage of the polar bear and it can help researchers to link the footage with high resolution location data. This way, researchers will be able to understand the activity patterns of polar bears.
It is important for the researchers to see how often they hunt, eat, rest, walk, swim, and especially how it would change time by time with the melt of polar ice. This mission started in 2014 and it has been carried out up to nowadays.
The first footages showing the life of a polar bear recorded in 2014-2016 hit more than 500,000 views on YouTube. The video showed that polar bears are more energetic and do more energic activities than researchers predicted before. It is an important discovery to understand the behavior of the animal best.
The device is in the form of electronic collar developed by Mehdi Bakhtiari. And the use of it has been supported by United States Geological Survey’s Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative. This mission has also gained support from many other international NGOs.
Early Polar Bear Radar
The next technology is polar bear early detection radar. We all know that a lot of conflicts have happened when polar bears met human, and this detection radar is a tool that can detect their presence early so we can avoid further conflicts.
The importance of this technology increases because nowadays we see more polar bears roam closer to human residency. There is a sad reason for this, and we should really pay attention to it because it clearly shows the sign of global warming.
As the planet is warming more and more each year, more and more polar ice is melting like we have mentioned above. This condition forces the bear to roam closer to human residents to look for food, because to swim into the middle of the sea it would be too far.
BJ Kirschhoffer, director of field operations for Polar Bears International, said that this radar is very useful to detect polar bears, especially in times that human cannot manually detect it. There are a lot of conditions that limit our ability, and this radar can overcome those.
“Manitoba’s conservation officers do an amazing job of spotting approaching bears and responding to reports from citizens, but human patrols can be limited by darkness, foggy weather, or whiteout snowstorms,” Kirschhoffer said.
The Radar For Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan has dead for more than 800 years, yet his tomb has never been found. However, because of that fact alone, a new technology to protect polar bear has been developed. Tom Smith, associate professor in plant and wildlife sciences at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah was the one who initiated this innovation.
“I randomly tuned into the radio one night and heard an expert talking about the use of synthetic aperture radar [SAR] to look for Genghis Khan’s tomb. They were using SAR to penetrate layers of forest canopy in upper Mongolia, looking for the ruins of a burial structure,” he said.
So, how can this technology help us to save polar bear population? The answer is by finding polar bear dens; thus, conservationists can build a data map that shows places where polar bear dens and prevent big companies to take over their habitat.
“Industry wants to go in and pump oil. If we have a tool that definitively says exactly where polar bear dens are, that means keeping people away from those places. If we want bears, we need baby bears, so we’ve got to protect those dens,” Kirshhoffer stated about this topic.
All of those technologies prove that if we want to protect our nature, we can actually do it in the midst of this technology tsunami. What we really need is the motivation to protect and give the best to our nature.