Eagle nearly bankrupts Russian tracking programme with roaming text messages

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IceCube
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Eagle nearly bankrupts Russian tracking programme with roaming text messages

Post by IceCube » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:31 am

A steppe eagle has nearly bankrupted a Russian bird-tracking programme with roaming text messages after he flew to Iran and began transmitting backlogged GPS data.

Scientists from the Siberian Environmental Centre were forced to turn to crowdfunding, with donations flooding in since the story made national news.

Named “Min” after his birthplace near the city of Minusinsk, the steppe eagle was fitted with a GPS tracker powered by a miniature solar panel in 2018. A project by the Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network is tracking 13 of the endangered eagles to better understand what threats they face during their migration south to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Outfitted with a mobile phone card, the tracker takes an eagle's location 12 times a day and texts the coordinates to the researchers' number in four messages. If the bird is outside mobile coverage area, as is often the case, it stores the data to text once it comes back in range.

After spending most of this summer out of coverage in western Kazakhstan, Min flew to Iran so quickly earlier this month that his tracker still couldn't get a mobile connection.

Once he landed near a rubbish dump in Iran, it began sending hundreds of text messages of GPS data, costing the programme's shoestring budget up to 7,000 roubles (£85) a day. Each text from Iran is priced at 49 roubles, about 25 times more than in Russia and three times more than in Kazakhstan.

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... and you thought your roaming charges were bad. :lol:

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