Dolphins offered mobile solution
Dusky dolphins living off the coast of Cape Town are about to be issued with mobile phone technology.
It will not be handsets though and, despite their sophisticated ability to communicate, they will not be chatting or texting each other.
Instead they will have collars embedded with a mobile phone SIM card to keep track of their movements.
Mobile phone technology is revolutionising the way animals - both on land and sea - are tracked.
Some 200 animals in Africa, including elephants, zebras and baboons, are now tracked via SIM cards, which is a much cheaper technology than using a satellite system.
Once fitted with the collar - which also comprises a GPS unit (Global Positioning System) - animals are just a text message away from the researchers.
Scientists simply send a text asking where a particular animal is located and they will receive an automated answer giving its exact position, said Martin Haupt of Africa Wildlife Tracking.
He said that the dolphins being used in the trial were excellent subjects because they naturally swim close to shore, meaning they will be within range of the mobile base station's signal.
If the trial is successful it will be extended to other dolphin species and possibly whales if a way can be found to collar them.