Now, RFID devices to track jumbos

After the ten-digit micro-chip implantation and the data book compilation, the state forest department is keen on undertaking more efforts to check the misuse of elephants and related rule violations.

The department is mulling introduction of the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) that’s more effective than the microchips.

“In many cases, the microchips could not be read by the devices or the animal could easily tear them away. On the other hand, the RFIDs have longer range and are easily read. It can be either fitted with the ID cards or chipped under the skin of the animal since it is too small,” a senior forest official told DC

The efforts are intended to prevent violations of the Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2003. “A single device now costs roughly Rs 2,500. We may start implanting the RFIDs within three to four months that will help us track the daily activities of jumbos,” the official said.
So what are the kind of activities that the department is targeting?

According to the official, many flout rules that restrict the use of elephants in another district, or the one stating that the jumbos should not be made to walk more than 30 km a day. Some even fail to report the death of an elephant, as also the periodic cutting and shaping of the tusk.

While the elephant data book acts like a license, the RFID may be used to monitor the activities of the elephants.

RFID technology is similar to the bar code identification systems used in retail stores. However, unlike the barcode technology, RFID does not require contact or line of the sight-reading for communication since the waves have longer ranges. This ensures uninterrupted communication and helps accurately track the position and activities of jumbos, the official said.

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