Miami, US, May 17 (EFE).- The 30-year-old white rhinoceros Helen, one of the attractions of Walt Disney World Resort’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, along with her fellow habitat mates, has joined the worldwide human craze of using wearable technology to track daily activity.
“With wearable fitness trackers being so accessible – from watches on your wrist to apps on your phone – it’s simple and convenient to see how much ground you’ve covered throughout the day between visits to your favorite attractions, restaurants and shows,” the company wrote on the Disney Parks blog this week.
“Well, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, there’s a new species ‘horning in’ on this fitness craze … rhinos!”
Helen roams the artificial savannah of Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safari wearing an activity tracker, similar to those used by people around the world, to collect data on the number of steps she takes a day.
The device, about a foot (30.5 centimeters) in diameter, consists of an accelerometer and a GPS tracker.
“Because of the built-in accelerometer, we can track the distance they cover running and walking around the savanna. We also can better track their sleeping and napping schedules,” the blog said.
The GPS unit will serve to understand “which features in the habitat are most popular to them, and we can better determine which factors, like wallows, sun and shade, impact the areas they use.”
This initiative is part of a large-scale joint research project with rhinos from accredited zoos and wildlife centers in the US.
When combined with other data from veterinarians, scientists and animal care specialists, “this information on physical fitness will help all animal care experts better understand how different habitats play a role in rhino health.”
The article asserts that “managed rhino populations are becoming increasingly important for the survival of the species due to illegal poaching in the wild.”
The research will be compiled and shared with animal care professionals at 74 accredited facilities, “helping ensure rhinos receive the best care for many generations to come.” EFE