In the Irkutsk region of Russia (Lake Baikal), there are a lot of national parks and reserves. These are very remote and difficult-to-reach locations where hunting is usually prohibited – but there are a lot of poachers. There are no mobile phone masts or means of terrestrial communication.
In the woods of Irkutsk, there are a lot of small wooden huts. They’re called “zimniki” – a shelter which gives a safe place for park rangers to stay overnight. The rangers go to each hut twice a year as a routine. One of the park ranger’s jobs is to try to prevent poaching, but with such a huge area in such an inhospitable environment, that’s an incredibly hard job… and so they have come up with an ingenious way to do it!
This year they visited each of the wooden huts in November and left one RockSTAR tracker in each hut, hidden away, sending a report once a day. As well as automatically sending tracking data from anywhere on Earth, the RockSTAR units have an inbuilt temperature sensor with an alert mode, and so the park rangers set this at five degrees C. If the temperature went above that, the RockSTAR would send a special alert message.
To survive in the harsh temperatures, the poachers will use the huts to get through the night. When they visit the huts, they’ll warm them up and trigger the temperature alert. And, hey presto, the message is received immediately, and the local authorities know exactly which hut is being used by a poacher that night.
This feature was never designed for this use but we fully support any use of our equipment which helps protect the world in which we live, so congratulations to the lateral-thinking rangers, and to our Russian partner MVS, on helping them achieve their goals.