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Title

Feathered Detectives: Real-Time GPS Tracking of Scavenging Gulls Pinpoints Illegal Waste Dumping

AuthorsNavarro, Joan ; Grémillet, David; Afán, Isabel ; Ramírez, Francisco ; Bouten, Willem; Forero, Manuela G.
Issue Date2016
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE, 11(7): e0159974 (2016)
AbstractUrban waste impacts human and environmental health, and waste management has become one of the major challenges of humanity. Concurrently with new directives due to manage this human by-product, illegal dumping has become one of the most lucrative activities of organized crime. Beyond economic fraud, illegal waste disposal strongly enhances uncontrolled dissemination of human pathogens, pollutants and invasive species. Here, we demonstrate the potential of novel real-time GPS tracking of scavenging species to detect environmental crime. Specifically, we were able to detect illegal activities at an officially closed dump, which was visited recurrently by 5 of 19 GPS-tracked yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis). In comparison with conventional land-based surveys, GPS tracking allows a much wider and cost-efficient spatiotemporal coverage, even of the most hazardous sites, while GPS data accessibility through the internet enables rapid intervention. Our results suggest that multi-species guilds of feathered detectives equipped with GPS and cameras could help fight illegal dumping at continental scales. We encourage further experimental studies, to infer waste detection thresholds in gulls and other scavenging species exploiting human waste dumps
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159974
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/136932
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0159974
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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