Chi-Chi the giant panda was captured in 1957 before she was a year old and taken to a zoo in Peking. As the inspiration behind the logo of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), her likeness helped WWF raise awareness about the plight of this iconic species.
Nearly 60 years after Chi-Chi’s capture, there are only 1,800 giant pandas in the wild today, despite the heroic work of WWF to help expand panda reserves in China to 3.8 million acres. To combat new, human threats and unresolved old ones, new tools need to be added to the conservationist’s arsenal. Working together, Seagate and WWF are demonstrating how technology and data can be used to protect pandas and their habitats.
The threats to giant pandas are related to human activity. Deforestation and fragmentation of habitats by roads and railroads hinders a panda’s ability to eat and find a mate. Poaching, mostly by accident, further reduces the panda population.
For conservationists, many challenges exist. Scientists need to better understand panda behaviors and movement patterns in order to protect free movement in key corridors. Pandas are also elusive and live in remote areas, so tracking and observing them is difficult. Scientists also need to be able to monitor human encroachment, as well as to determine and analyze all types of threats.
Believing that data is critical for the conservation effort, Seagate is working hand-in-hand with WWF to capture precious data on panda behavior and human encroachment. One of their approaches has been to purchase and deploy 100 remote infrared (IR) camera setups. These systems include digital video recording (DVR) appliances outfitted with surveillance-optimized hard drives. Installed in June, 2015, these reliable, functional camera systems have already begun to capture images of animals, providing local conservation groups with important data on panda behavior and movement.
In addition, the Seagate-WWF project has purchased closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems for monitoring human behavior in Heihe National Forest Park in Shaanxi Province, China. Footage captured by these cameras has provided local groups with insights on where tourists and poachers enter the reserves and how to keep them away from sensitive areas.
The data has also allowed conservationists to focus on habitat restoration efforts. Armed with accurate data on movement patterns, scientists have conducted habitat restoration — by planting bamboo plantations — in 108 national road corridors to better connect disparate panda populations.
By using technology to save endangered species, Seagate and WWF are establishing the next generation of conservation tools. Having proven the concept with the help of Seagate on a regional scale with pandas, WWF is now seeking to deliver results on a national scale — and thereby protecting even more threatened species.
It’s impossible to tell whether a CCTV system would have prevented Chi-Chi from being plucked out of the forest and into captivity. But with technology providing the data and solutions for today’s conservation challenges, WWF and Seagate are making the future brighter for this majestic, highly symbolic species.
Surveillance-optimized hard drives provide reliable, 24x7 availability to capture every frame of movement by IR cameras. Tough, portable hard drives give staff the high capacity and reliability to transport data from the field to headquarters.
Network-attached storage (NAS) devices allow field teams to consolidate and protect data. They also let regional teams quickly and securely share data with national and international offices.