IoT News – Picchio partners with UnaBiz to track Japanese black bears


Today, the Picchio Wildlife Research Center announced its Asian black bear tracking program in Karuizawa, Japan with UnaBiz’s low-power IoT GPS tracker.

The leading manufacturer and service provider of the Internet of Things (IoT) is supporting Picchio’s efforts to enable peaceful coexistence between locals and wildlife in the summer vacation town of Karuizawa.

“Although wild animals like bears and monkeys can cause damage to cities and become vectors of infectious diseases for farm animals, they also play an important role in the ecosystem. As the only wildlife organization in Asia that manages wild bears with GPS technology, UnaBiz is pleased to support Picchio with a reliable, long-term solution that ensures long-term peaceful coexistence between bears and humans ”. said Pascal Gerbert-Gaillard, Japanese General Manager of UnaBiz.

“The black bears of Karuizawa have been a problem for locals and tourists alike who have to coexist with the wild animals that scavenge in the area.”

Bears need to stock up on food before they hibernate in winter, which is one of the main reasons why so many Japanese black bears have been spotted in populated towns and villages in search of food. The continued overlap between bear habitat and human populations forces bears to come into conflict with humans on farms and in villages. In order to better monitor and manage the black bear population, the city needed an economically viable solution to monitor the location of the bear population. Unlike the expensive GPS collars previously used by the city, which only last for one year, the new energy-efficient device can last up to three years.

“This is the problem we are solving with UnaBiz”, said Gen Oshima, a human-bear conflict specialist and bear dog handler, who has been tracking, hunting and chaining bears for research at the nonprofit for 10 years now.

“UnaBiz’s tracking solution offers several distinctive advantages in terms of cost and reliability over the VHF (very high frequency) radio and GPS collars we have used to date. These include good cover in the deep forest and the ability to locate animals at specific times of the day. This is important because our rangers have to locate bears between midnight and 2 a.m. in order to literally hunt them in the woods. In addition, the cost of the solution is almost 10 times lower than the existing solutions we tested. “

Picchio, translated from Italian as “peak”, is an eco-advocate of responsible tourism that offers visitors the opportunity to get closer to nature without harming the environment. Since 1998, Picchio has been working on the protection and management of bears. In 2000, they were commissioned by the city of Karuizawa to further expand their activities.

Picchio tested the UnaBiz solution during the winter and plans to stick the captured bears after the spring. There are approximately 21,000 Asian black bears in Japan. The program is the first step in a larger project to track other wildlife, such as monkeys, which represent a much larger animal population in the region so that they are not overhunted or cause harm. agricultural damage to residents.

Picchio will work closely with UnaBiz to explore other lightweight devices with even longer battery life for the program.

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