Now that I have concluded my research on the topic of technology in conservation, and explored the specific issues being faced by polar bears, I want to consider whether there are any ways that technology could have a positive impact on the conservation of polar bears.
I was extremely impressed with the research carried out by Priyesh Kara at Liverpool John Moores university, and the use of drone technology in order to track animals in the wild. I thought this was an extremely interesting idea, and it gave me an initial idea of a way that this technology could, potentially, be implemented in order to support polar bears.
The two issues that I researched into in the most detail were rising cannibalism and human-bear conflict. I feel that the following idea could have a positive impact on both of those issues, simultaneously.
Initial Idea Using Drone Technology
Currently, polar bears are being forced further inland and away from their usual prey. Due to a lack of ice, they are unable to hunt in ways that they would before, and hunt for the food that they would usually hunt for. Due to this, they are pushing into human settlements in search of trash, as well as eating each other to sustain their diets.
Using the drone technology developed by Priyesh at Liverpool John Moores, drones could be used in order to automatically locate potential prey for polar bears in nearby areas. These could be types of prey that the bears wouldn't usually be drawn to, but are suitable for their diets and a sustainable source of food.
Research could then be carried out in order to determine whether there is a possibility of encouraging the polar bears towards this prey using drone technology, too.
If that is possible, the same drone technology could be used in order to locate prey and encourage the polar bears towards that prey. This would reduce their reliance on cannibalism, and navigate them away from human settlements.
This is, obviously, quite a far-fetched solution. I have absolutely no idea whether you could encourage a bear in a particular direction using drones. However, I know that the same technology is being used with herds of cattle in the United States, so I think that there is potential there.