Efforts are underway to grasp the movement of elephant herds with seismographs
A seismograph is a device that measures the shaking caused by an earthquake, and when an earthquake occurs, the Japan Meteorological Agency collects information from seismographs installed in various places, determines the time of the earthquake, the epicenter, and calculates the magnitude. It seems that it is not only the shaking of an earthquake that can be detected using a seismograph, and in Africa, 'an effort to grasp the movement of a herd of elephants using a seismograph' is underway, according to Atlas Obscura, an online magazine. doing.
Can We Track Elephants With Earthquake Detectors? --Atlas Obscura
Oliver Lamb , a geophysicist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , is trying to use a seismograph to track the behavior of a herd of elephants. According to Lam, if an elephant reunites after leaving the herd, he will be very pleased with the reunion, even if the elephant was separated for only a moment.
'They are like pet dogs who came back after 15 minutes away from their owners. I am very pleased and really happy to be able to meet them again,' Lamb said of the elephants who reunited with the group. By detecting the shaking and crying of the elephant's feet at such times with a seismograph, Mr. Lam thinks that it may be possible to grasp how the elephant herd is moving.
A seismograph can detect not only earthquakes, but in principle anything that shakes the ground. Attempts have already been made to detect all kinds of events such as hurricane sounds, snowmelt , missile launches, and explosions of shooting stars flying in the sky with seismographs. It has also been revealed that in 2020, a pandemic of the new coronavirus resulted in a reduction in human activity due to a city blockade, resulting in a reduction in crustal-level vibrations.
Report that the blockade measures against the new coronavirus affected the 'vibration of the earth' itself --GIGAZINE
In recent years, some elephant researchers have been trying to detect elephant footsteps and barks using seismographs. The elephant's bark can reach 110 dB (decibel) , Lamb said, 'The elephant's bark is very loud. I don't know if you've ever approached an elephant, but the elephant's bark. Really trembles my whole body. ' Since a loud cry also shakes the ground, it is possible to detect it with a seismograph in principle.
Conservation of precious wild elephants is the number one reason researchers want to use seismographs to understand elephant activity. Seismometers are seen as a promising way to track a herd of elephants while at a distance, without disturbing the herd.
Researchers may also attach GPS collars to elephants for research and conservation. However, the act of pulling away from the herd and attaching the collar can be a great stress for the elephant, and if not properly attached, it may hurt the skin. On the other hand, the seismograph only needs to be placed on the ground in the area where the elephants live, and it seems that it can be a tracking method with less stress on the elephants.
Raspberry Shake and Boom, which can be purchased for less than $ 1,000.
It is promising to grasp the activity of elephants using seismographs, but high-performance seismographs can cost more than 10,000 dollars (about 1.1 million yen), so it is recommended for organizations working on elephant conservation activities to adopt it. The key is whether you can use a low-cost seismograph. So Ram's research team experimented with the ability to detect elephant footsteps and barks using a seismograph called the
The research team set up a Raspberry Shake and Boom in South Africa's Adventures With Elephants nature reserve, about three square kilometers, to try to track elephants. The Raspberry Shake and Boom was designed for home use with power, so the research team said they had a solar-powered car battery and storage battery nearby to power the Raspberry Shake and Boom. That thing. A higher performance device was also placed nearby to compare the accuracy of the Raspberry Shake and Boom.
As a result of the experiment, the detection accuracy of Raspberry Shake and Boom was not as high as the research team expected. The distance that barks and footsteps can be detected is within several hundred meters, and the detection accuracy dropped sharply as the distance increased.
Although this result was not ideal, improvements may improve detection accuracy. For example, in this experiment, the Raspberry Shake and Boom was placed directly on the ground, so the surrounding soil may have eliminated the shaking. Therefore, the research team thinks that it will be easier to detect shaking by installing the Raspberry Shake and Boom in a concrete box like a general seismograph.
In Africa, the number of cases of collision between wild animals and humans is increasing due to climate change and population growth. If an elephant tracking system using a low-cost seismograph is put into practical use, an alarm system that notifies people's homes and fields by SMS etc. will be installed in rural areas near the elephant's habitat. There is a possibility that it can be provided. If you know that an elephant is approaching early, you can avoid the elephant's assault in a non-violent way, such as 'mixing dry dung and peppers and burning them to generate tear gas, which elephants are not good at.'
The seismograph-based elephant tracking system is in its early stages of development, but is expected to become a new toolkit for conservation activists alongside GPS, drones, satellite photography, and human surveillance in the future. I am. In addition, by detecting and analyzing the elephant's bark with a seismograph, it may be possible to obtain clues to decipher the information transmitted by the elephant's bark.