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GSM and Leopard Research

What do leopards and GSM mobile phones have in common?

The surprising answer is they both use MTC SIM cards!

Renowned international conservation organisation Biosphere Expeditions is working with MTC on a leopard research project near Windhoek. The project’s aims are to gather reliable scientific data on the ecology of cat predators living on private game farms in Namibia.

"This is because we want to gain a better understanding of how leopards, as predators, form an important part of a healthy ecosystem even, on a game farm", says Kristina Killian, the project’s biologist, adding that "in the end we also want to provide straight-forward information to farmers in Namibia and southern Africa to help alleviate predator/game conflicts".

"To conduct our research, we capture leopards and then fit them with a GSM collar with an MTC SIM card inside", explains Killian. "The collar then uses the mobile phone network to send data to my laptop whenever the leopard picks up a signal from a mobile phone tower. With the help of these data we are gathering amazingly precise information about the leopards’ movements and what they are up to within their home ranges on game farms."

In the past eight weeks, Killian and her volunteer helpers have had significant success in capturing and collaring three leopards. "The success is beyond our imagination. We are so excited about the results, Killian stated.

MTC’s Chief Human Capital and Corporate Officer, Tim Ekandjo says "We’re proud that our technology can help with this important conservation project. We are especially pleased that MTC is able to help in the mitigation of animal and human conflict. We are very excited and we look forward to reading the full report of this project once it is completed. We wish Biosphere Expeditions much success with their work and the GSM collars".

Biosphere Expeditions not only conducts research on leopards, but also engages with the local and international communities. International volunteers from all over the world regularly come to Namibia to help Killian with her project. There is also an educational programme aimed at children in Katutura and a scholarship programme for Namibian citizens.