Strongly shielded, but critically endangered
In spite of the strong shield pangolins wear, their population has declined at an alarming rate – the result of poaching and illegal trade. Worse still, the destruction of their habitats further exacerbates their plight. Pangolins feed almost exclusively on ants and termites. Such a simple diet makes them particularly poor at adapting to changes in their environment. In China alone, its population is estimated to have decreased by an exorbitant 90% since the 1960s, prompting the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to put the Chinese pangolin on its red list as a Critically Endangered animal.
Thankfully, the future looks positive
The good news is that governments and international organizations have intensified their efforts to crack down on poaching and illegal trading of pangolins over the years. Significant resources have been dedicated to the animals’ protection and breeding in the field. The United Nations has declared the third Saturday of February as “World Pangolin Day” in order to raise awareness about protecting these creatures across the globe.
In addition, focus has also been placed on surveying and monitoring wild pangolin populations and their habitats. Patrolling forests and mountains has radically diminished poaching efforts while also strengthening on-going research on the artificial breeding measures currently underway.
Hikvision helps to guard the guardians of the forest
Hikvision Digital Technology, Inc. has recently begun working with partners to help protect pangolin populations in the Wuqinzhang Reserve in Guangdong, China. The video technology company, known mostly for its security products and applications, provided an intelligent video system designed, in this case, for protecting these animals. The system integrates professional video software with dedicated functions including AI-equipped cameras that can identify this unique animal automatically. The system further analyzes nearby animal activity and monitors human contact with wildlife.
Before this time, research in the reserve was impeded by the lack of data and video footage on the local ecosystem in general and pangolin activity in particular. Researchers were forced to travel dozens of kilometers on foot deep into mountainous areas and dense, unfriendly forests only to collect very limited data. After the Hikvision system was put into place, however, workers have been able to access large amounts of video footage, studying and documenting pangolin living habits. These valuable materials currently help reveal and restore populations as they facilitate the work of researchers.
“The protection of pangolins is of great value in protecting the biodiversity in our forests,” pointed out Li Chen, director of Xizijiang Ecological Conservation Center, a non-profit organization for monitoring, studying, and protecting wildlife. “The intelligent video system allows for smart, information-based and real-time monitoring of pangolins. It relieves researchers from patrolling pressures and provides precious data for the scientific research of pangolins. We are expecting more technologies to be used in the future of the Wuqinzhang Reserve to protect pangolins, so that more of them can thrive here.”
When the “guardians of the forest” are in danger, it is people’s responsibility to protect them. Hikvision believes that the strength of technology can be a force for positive change, not only for human societies, but also for wildlife. By developing technologies to aid ecological research and protection such as this, Hikvison is doing its part to protect biological diversity.
SOURCE Hikvision Digital Technology