Ethics of Conservation Tech / Feed

Over the last few years the conservation movement has been enthusiastically deploying new technologies that make it possible to observe and protect the natural world in ways once unimaginable. But are there any potential risks we need to consider as we deploy the new, exciting technologies?


Gender Equality in Conservation

Meet the women and men supporting gender equality in conservation #tech. Here is a panel discussion the Women in Conservation Tech (WiCT) led in November 2022, during the EarthRanger User Conference (ERUC). Opening up...

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Help - Innovative ways to track elephant movement

Hi, I am working on a study to track wild elephant movement within an overlayed matrix of crop fields. We seek to understand how various landscape variables impact crop-raiding...

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Why would you want to avoid alerting the rangers ?

You don't need high tech for this; elephants leave very obvious tracks and sign. 

Hi Tyler,

Would like to introduce you to Ceres Tags products

  • Ceres Tags products come in boxes of 5, 10 and 24. 
  • There are some software partners such as Earthranger, Mapipedia and possibly CiboLabs that would be able to assist you with your mapping vegetation requirements
  • Ceres Tag does not require any towers, base stations and infrastructure. This allows you to see any movements from the heard outside of their normal herd (boundary alerts), and you will not be disturbing any of the flora and fauna with infrastructure set up. 
  • For the timing you are looking at, Ceres Wild pings directly to satellite 24 times a day. For Ceres Trace and Ceres Ranch there are 4 within 24 hours. Taking into consideration, when you set up alert areas, you will get them directly to your phone/laptop via your software of choice
  • Ceres Ranch is a reusable tag that has just been launched. Use it on this project, remove the tag and then use the tag on your next project
  • The software you choose will assist with the history of your animal movements. Ceres Tag is integrated with 11 software partners and in-development with 18 software partners
  • Understanding it is a short-term project, you would be able to use Ceres Tags products without the additional expense of setting up and removing infrastructure- towers, gateways
  • With Ceres Tag, you are purchasing the box of tags and picking a suitable software to deliver the information you require. On average, a box of 10 Ceres Trace Tags, is the same as 1 LoRaWAN tower. 


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Data privacy for at-risk species

Elizabeth Bondi and I were concerned by the assumption that geo-obfuscating the GPS location of data (ie random jitter within some range) would be sufficient to preserve location...

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If you haven't read them, these 2 papers offer propose decision-making frameworks for sensitive animal occurrence data:

Tulloch AIT, Auerbach N, Avery-Gomm S, Bayraktarov E, Butt N, Dickman CR, Ehmke G, Fisher DO, Grantham H, Holden MH, et al. 2018. A decision tree for assessing the risks and benefits of publishing biodiversity data. Nature Ecol. Evol. 2: 1209-1217.

Lennox RJ, Harcourt R, Bennett JR, Davies A, Ford AT, Frey RM, Hayward MW, Hussey NE, Iverson SJ, Kays R. 2020. A novel framework to protect animal data in a world of ecosurveillance. BioScience 70(6): 468–476.

The Research Data Alliance has 2 relevant interest groups:

Sensitive Data IG: This is just getting started.

Data Policy Standardization and Implementation IG: For those publishing results, this group is working on advising more consistent data-access policies. In the paper below resulting from this group's work, they give some general suggestions for defining exceptions to open data policies that include sensitive species data:

Hrynaszkiewicz I, Simons N, Hussain A, Grant R, Goudie S. 2020. Developing a research data policy framework for all journals and publishers. Data Science Journal 19(1): 5.

If others know of relevant resources please share!

Our team was just talking about this as well.  We work in bioacoustics, so not as complex as the camera trap strategies described in the publication. 

Strategy we landed on was to automatically round geo coordinates to map an approx location for species presence. 

We welcome thoughts/opinions/ideas on this important topic for our sensitive species in Nepal, Bolivia, and US!

Fwiw, GBIF published guidance on this topic late last year:

Chapman AD (2020) Current Best Practices for Generalizing Sensitive Species Occurrence Data. Copenhagen: GBIF Secretariat.

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How do I use conservation tech ethically?

Doug Clark
Catch up on our Tech Tutors panel episode with Doug Clark, Trishant Simlai, Laure Joanny, and Koustubh Sharma, who discussed the question, "How do I use conservation tech ethically?" Watch the full session below and on...

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Seeking feedback: draft principles for responsible use of conservation surveillance technology

Hi Wildlabs members, I've been working with @csandbrook  , @StephODonnell  and others to develop a set of principles for the responsible use of surveillance...

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Guidelines for reducing disturbance to wildlife when using drones

Does anyone know of any existing guidelines for reducing disturbance to wildlife when using drones- please share!

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this paper is a good place to start: Hodgson, J. C., & Koh, L. P. (2016). Best practice for minimising unmanned aerial vehicle disturbance to wildlife in biological field research. Current Biology, 26(10), R404-R405.

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Responsible Data concerns

The Responsible Data community has published an open letter today regarding concerns...

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Building tech solutions from the ground up

It's great to see this Group given the tendency to focus on 'new' and 'innovative' technologies, and the challenges and ethics that this focus brings...

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Thanks for contributing these thoughts and resources, Ken. Great to see you in the WILDLABS.NET community!

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