Project Camtag 3rd Eye Technology launched to invent Camera Satellite Tags To Protect Raptors

Hen Harrier the most persecuted bird of prey in the UK - photo by Frank Wildman.

Always great to have guest writers for our blog and even better when the subject is fighting wildlife crime in this case the illegal killing of our "protected" birds of prey. Many thanks 3rd Eye Technology for allowing us to use their words. As most readers of this blog will not need to be reminded, Birds of Prey in the UK have been incessantly persecuted for decades if not centuries.

For Raptors, the fear of being poisoned, trapped or shot has become a part of their daily lives. But now, 3ET is attempting to invent a long-awaited solution, using state of the art technology. 3ET has been spearheaded by a member of the birding community, for the whole national community. Fed up with years of inaction and failures by cross party governments to uphold the law and single out those that feel they are above that law, maybe those same people are the ones donating large sums of money to Party coffers when it comes to election time? Failures also by the game shooting organisations to clean up their act and to curtail their members, seemingly many, many bad apples, from committing these illegal acts, although to be honest they haven’t really tried very hard, have they?

Red Kite Sky 1

Our birds of prey, like these Red Kites, should be enjoyed by everyone not illegally killed.

This will be welcome news to species like Hen Harriers, Red Kites and Golden Eagles, in fact all Raptors, as none of them seem to escape this blight. One of the most persecuted Raptor species in the UK in correlation to its population density, the Hen Harrier, faces becoming extinct in England once again, due to prolonged illegal persecution on and around Driven Grouse Moors, their favourite breeding habitat. They are illegally persecuted because Red Grouse, predominantly the chicks, form part of their staple diet during the breeding season. Red Grouse are intensively managed on Driven Grouse Moors so that they will yield a surplus of birds to be shot for fun between August 12th – December 10th each year.

3ET (a not-for-profit company) intends to produce a CamTag® to work in conjunction with existing satellite tags, which are giving excellent data detailing persecution hotspots. By adding another string to the bow, the chances of collecting photographic evidence to help with future investigations seems a logical next step. How many times have you heard the cry “when will these tags have cameras on them”! It will also be useful to use such technology to capture images of their day to day lives.

The project will be in two stages. First of all, a Proof of Concept (also known as a Feasibility Study) needs to be concluded over an approximate 6-month period, Grants and Match Funding are being sought to allow this first phase, Stage 1, to be implemented along with a forthcoming Crowdfunding appeal shortly. If the target sum can be successfully raised, it will result in being able to immediately start the POC. The study will give the answers to the challenges faced to produce a fully functional CAMERA satellite tag, (although many answers were forthcoming in a recently commissioned university report for 3ET) it will also give a larger than life working prototype, and a budget forecast, which will then allow 3ET to plan and advance to Stage 2, the manufacturing and testing phase. The intention is to fund Stage 2 with further crowd-funding, grants & match-funding. This is an ambitious challenge, there is no quick fix way of getting to the end result and 3ET is under no illusions of the difficulties ahead, but science is now enabling us to at least try and attempt to safeguard our precious wildlife. The University of Washington has just managed to fit a video camera on a beetle, so don’t think for one minute that the technology isn’t available, it ‘just’ needs adjusting to suit the requirements needed to get all into a compact lightweight backpack for our Birds of Prey!

If you feel you would like to pledge a donation to help kickstart the POC, you can contact 3ET by email:

The 3ET website will be live in the very near future with more details and updates when available.

You can also follow on Twitter: @Raptor3ET using hashtags #CamTag #R3ET in any mentions.

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