The Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) is using their Twitter feed to put a new, internet-savvy spin on wildlife conservation. The project uses radio transmitter tags on sharks combined with proximity monitors to report on shark movement near human-populated beaches.
A tagged shark within a certain radius of the monitor triggers a tweet informing beachgoers, helping to improve safety for both man and marine beast.
Image courtesy of Allan Lee via flickrcc
Currently, 338 sharks have been tagged with radio transmitters including a significant number of the more dangerous tiger shark and great white shark species. The tweet states the breed and estimated size of the shark along with an approximate location. The Twitter also broadcasts shark alerts reported from other sources, such as helicopter sightings.
The system is reported to be much faster than traditional radio warnings, and allows lifeguards to shut down beaches in a timely manner with a minimum of panic and disruption.
As a bonus, the Twitter occasionally posts raw images of sharks and other marine wildlife in their natural environment off the Western Australian coast.