Picchio Partners with UnaBiz to Track Japanese Black Bears

Massive IoT Service Provider UnaBiz Partners Picchio to provide Energy-Efficient IoT Trackers for the Safe and Peaceful Coexistence between Local Populations and the Black Bears in Karuizawa

Karuizawa, Japan – March 10, 2021 – Today, the Picchio Wildlife Research Centre announced its programme to track Asian Black Bears in Karuizawa, Japan with UnaBiz’ low-power IoT GPS tracker. The massive Internet of Things (IoT) device maker and service provider is sponsoring Picchio’s effort to enable the peaceful coexistence between locals and wildlife in the summer holiday town of Karuizawa. 

“Although wild animals like bears and monkeys can cause damage to towns and become vectors of infectious diseases to farm animals, they also play an important role in the ecosystem. As the only wildlife organisation in Asia that manages wild bears with GPS technology, UnaBiz is pleased to support Picchio with a reliable and long-term solution that ensures a long-term peaceful coexistence between bears with humans,” said Pascal Gerbert-Gaillard, Japan Managing Director of UnaBiz. “Black Bears in Karuizawa have been an issue for locals and tourists alike who have to co-exist with the wild animals scavenging for garbage in the area.”

Bears need to stock up on food before they hibernate in the winter, which is one of the main reasons why so many of Japan’s black bears have been spotted in populated towns and villages foraging for food. The continuing overlap between bear habitat and human populations forces bears into conflict with humans on farms and in villages. In order to better monitor and manage the population of black bears, the town needed an economically viable solution to monitor the location of the bear population. Unlike the expensive GPS collars the town previously used, which only last for a year, the new energy-efficient device can last up to three years.

“This is the problem we are solving with UnaBiz,” said Gen Oshima, Human-Bear Conflict Specialist & Bear Dog Handler who has been tracking, chasing and collaring bears for research at the Non-Profit Organisation for 10 years now. “UnaBiz’ tracking solution offers several distinctive cost and reliability advantages over the VHF (Very High Frequency) radio and GPS collars that we have been using so far. These include good coverage in the deep forest and the ability to locate animals at specific times of the day. This is important because our rangers have to locate the bears between midnight and 2 a.m. in order to literally chase the bears back into the woods. Furthermore, the solution is almost 10 times lower in cost than the existing solutions we have tested.” 

Picchio Team on the field

Picchio, translated from Italian as “woodpecker,” is an eco-advocate for responsible tourism that offers visitors the opportunity to get closer to nature without doing harm to the environment. Since 1998, Picchio has been working on bear protection and management. In 2000, they were entrusted by the town of Karuizawa to further expand their activities.

Picchio has tested UnaBiz’ solution during the winter and they plan to collar bears caught after spring. There are approximately 21,000 Asian black bears in Japan. The programme is the first stage in a bigger project to track other wildlife, such as monkeys, which represent a much larger animal population in the area so that they will not be overhunted or cause agricultural damages to the locals.

Picchio will be working closely with UnaBiz to explore other lightweight devices with an even longer battery life for the programme.

About Picchio

Picchio (meaning woodpecker in Italian) is an Eco-Tour Operator and Wildlife Research Centre in the thriving resort town of Karuizawa established in 1992. As an advocate for responsible tourism, its guided nature watching tours provide visitors with the opportunity to get closer to nature and all its wonders without doing any harm to the surrounding environment. These tours have been funding Picchio’s Asian Black Bear Conservation programme that manages and protects the local population of Asian black bears. Since 1998, Picchio has been successful in reducing the damage caused by bears in the town of Karuizawa despite a challenging situation where human residential areas and bear habitat overlap. The effectiveness of the programme has been attracting worldwide attention. As a wildlife conservation organisation, Picchio hopes to bring more people closer to nature and generate a worldwide interest in Japan’s wildlife.

About UnaBiz 

UnaBiz is the first proven massive IoT service provider based in Singapore and Taiwan. As the Sigfox 0G Network Operator, UnaBiz specialises in providing affordable, well-designed solutions that are energy-efficient, highly scalable and simple to deploy at a fraction of conventional cost. The company’s mission is to accelerate data-driven business efficiency for its clients and partners with agility and ingenuity. Today, it provides a diversified range of expertise from product design to manufacturing capabilities, tapping on to a wide range of skills and resources from the IoT ecosystem to power business growth. By uniting people and technology, UnaBiz aims to create an impact on a massive scale, to help every person and every organisation on the planet live smarter, simpler.

UnaBiz is accredited with ISO 9001:2015 certification for Design of IoT Product and Provider of Network Connectivity Solutions. The company is presently selling in 28 countries and focusing on key verticals such as smart metering, facilities management, asset management and asset tracking.