Japan’s NTT teamed with local organisations to deploy a network of IoT sensors across forests in Odawara city to improve the monitoring of wild birds and animals and manage populations, with the aim of reducing crop damage in rural areas. 

The operator stated the proof-of-concept demo is expected to show IoT technology can improve the efficiency of wildlife control work, adding the rise in animal populations near urban areas is related to environmental changes associated with climate change and the overpopulation of their natural habitat in forests.

NTT cited data from Japan’s Rural Development Bureau estimating national crop damage caused by wild birds and animals in the year to end-March 2023 at JPY15.6 billion ($103.1 million), with 65 per cent due to wild boars and deer.

By using sensors to gather vibration data around traps, the new installation reduced the time required to locate traps by an average of 57 per cent compared with the previous notification system, which also used a wireless access network.

The switch from manual to automated reconfiguration reduced the time required to re-activate traps by 85 per cent.

VirtualTech Japan provided the sensors and supported the IoT terminal operation; Japan Multi Hunters monitored the traps and captured animals; and non-profit organisation Odawara Inoshikanet allowed access to the forest.

Odawara is about 100km southwest of Tokyo.