WTF Fun Fact 12824 – Teen Invents Tool To Catch Elephant Poachers

A teen named Anika Puri has invented a new way to catch elephant poachers.

“I was quite taken aback,” the 17-year-old Chappaqua, New York student told Smithsonian Magazine. “Because I always thought, ‘well, poaching is illegal, how come it really is still such a big issue?’”

Learning more about elephant poachers

Puri and her family visited India a few years ago and saw ivory lined up at a Bombay market. The ivory trade has been illegal for decades in India.

After some research, Puri realized African elephants are still being hunted and that the “forest elephant population had declined by about 62 percent between 2002 and 2011.” Those numbers continue to drop today.

As a wildlife lover who is gifted in science and technology, Puri invented a system to help catch poachers.

According to Smithsonian: “Drones are currently used to detect and capture images of poachers, and they aren’t that accurate, the teenager explains. But after watching videos of elephants and humans, she saw how the two differed vastly in the way they move—their speed, their turning patterns and other motions.”

Tracking and stopping elephant poachers

Once she saw the difference in movements between humans and elephants, she realized she could build a piece of technology to track their movements.

As a result, she spent 2 years creating ElSa (short for “elephant savior”). Still in the prototype stage, the machine-learning driven device “analyzes movement patterns in thermal infrared videos of humans and elephants.”

Better yet, Puri says the accuracy is 4 times that of other tools. Her tool also costs a mere $250 to make whereas others run into the thousands of dollars due to their use of high-resolution cameras.

However: “ElSa uses a $250 FLIR ONE Pro thermal camera with 206×156 pixel resolution that plugs into an off-the-shelf iPhone 6. The camera and iPhone are then attached to a drone, and the system produces real-time inferences as it flies over parks as to whether objects below are human or elephant.”  WTF fun facts

Source: “This Teenager Invented a Low-Cost Tool to Spot Elephant Poachers in Real Time” — Smithsonian Magazine

WTF Fun Fact 12580 – African Elephant Poop

Elephants are the largest land mammals in the world. So it’s logical to believe that they would do everything in a big way. We just didn’t realize HOW big.

Looking at the facts, it makes sense that an adult African elephant could produce over 300 pounds of poop per day. Males can grow up to 13 feet high and weigh 7 tons (that’s 14,000 pounds!). Females weigh about half of that.

It’s no surprise that they produce so much poop, considering how much they eat and how their digestive systems work. African elephants eat about 4-7% of their body weight in grasses, herbs, fruit, plants, and trees each day. And that vegetarian diet must be doing something right because they can live to be around 70 years old.

Of course, that same diet is also hard to process, so most of it comes out in their waste products. The rest is absorbed for nutrients while they sleep.

And sometimes, those elephants need those calories when they’re on the move – they can walk up to 120 miles a day (but their average is closer to 15 miles). If necessary, they can also use that energy to run. In fact, an elephant can run much faster than a human, reaching speeds of 40mph!

But back to the fact at hand. Elephants produce about 300 pounds of dung per day. So much that 1) we’re glad we don’t have to clean it up, and 2) some animals (such as dung beetles and specific monkey species) have evolved to eat this feces. The latter makes sense since much of the food is not digested and would still contain some nutrients.

 – WTF fun facts

Source: “African Elephant Facts” — Elephants for Africa

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CLICK HERE TO HELP THE THE ENGENDERED ELEPHANT POPULATIONRaise Awareness and Show Your Support for a Great Cause!Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade


Raise Awareness and Show Your Support for a Great Cause!

Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade, and they could be mostly extinct by the end of the next decade. As of 2017, there are still more African elephants being killed for ivory than are being born, leaving elephant populations in decline.

Elephants and humans share a long history throughout our civilization. They are known to be just as smart, social and empathetic as us. Elephants are a keystone species that create and maintain ecosystems that many animals rely on for survival, yet every year the number of elephants poached for their ivory increases and populations continue to decline

Join us in our fight to help save the Elephants as we strive to make a difference.