Germany: The ‘Wildlife Finder’ project (Wildretter) received an aid of EUR 2.5 million for 3.5 years, from the German government. Using a combination of sensors, the project aims to develop a system for rescuing fawns during the mowing of agricultural land.
Under the leadership of ISA Industrieelektronik GmbH, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is working with its project partners, the agricultural technology company CLAAS and Munich Technical University (TUM). This joint project is supported by the Landesjagdverband Bayern, with the project administration being handled by ZENTEC GmbH.
In previous years, the project partners thoroughly investigated and tested the use of technical sensors to detect wildlife. Now, they will apply the insights gained along with new technologies to implement specific solutions. The focus of the new project is on establishing a wildlife finder system which follows the basic principle: “Find – Mark – Find again – Rescue – Safeguard”.
‘Finding’ is accomplished before mowing begins by using a combination of sensors mounted on a portable or aerial platform: infrared radiation identifies an animal’s presence in the grass because of its constant body temperature, and microwave sensors identify the water in the animal’s body. Data from video cameras and distance-measuring sensors assist in the analysis. ‘Marking’ the fawn is done electronically using a RFID system (Radio Frequency Identification). A radio tag, affixed to the agricultural machine, detects the marking during mowing. This means that the animal can be reliably found again, safely removed from the grass and thus rescued.
“We must do everything we can to prevent accidents with wild animals. These accidents are tragic, for both animals and people. With the help of the “Wildlife Finder” project it is possible to quickly turn innovative ideas from the science lab into practical solutions out on the fields,” explained Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Aigner during the formal presentation at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen. Technology which reliably detects and rescues wild animals is also welcomed by farmers, hunters and labour contractors, diverse groups which share an interest in animal protection. “This encourages us to continue our long-term efforts to investigate wild animal rescue and remote sensing methodologies together with our competent industrial and university partners” added Dr. Peter Haschberger, a department head at DLR’s Remote Sensing Technology Institute.