Bioacoustics technology for boosting conservation effort

Motion sensor cameras have played an important role in the conservation process. A similar role can be played by bioacoustics technology by recording the sounds of the animals at a relatively lesser cost and easy storage due to the small size of audio files then video files.

Like human beings animals also communicate with the help of sound or different noises. These noises can be collected and stored on a regular basis to understand the concentration of animals in a particular area.

A team of researchers led by Mitch Aide at the University of Puerto Rico has developed Automated Remote Biodiversity Monitoring Network (ARBIMON). ARBIMON has proved to be a low cost, portable monitoring device to collect continuous bioacoustics data.

Vaquita is a porpoise endemic found in the Gulf of California. Their conservation status is critically endangered. They are very shy and hence they are very tough to detect with the help of a camera, to solve that problem Dr. Jaramillo-Legoretta and his team, deployed 48 acoustic detectors in the Vaquita Refuge over a five-year period. These detectors pick up the vaquitas’ echolocation clicks, helping researchers to develop a population estimate based on the total number of clicks per 24-hour period. Researchers deployed detectors 24 hours a day during the same three-month period each year for consistencies in the result.


Preliminary results released in 2014 led to a two-year gillnet ban throughout the vaquita’s entire range. Updated results released in 2016 led to the launch of an emergency action plan called VaquitaCPR

Bioacoustics can also help in curbing the illegal hunting or cutting of the forests in real time since it can also detect the sounds of humans, chainsaws and bullets fired. This can help the forest rangers fight the hunters and can also help in saving the lives of forest rangers.


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