Students of the HAS University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch, The Netherlands, have designed and tested a smart life traps for beaver rats. The project has been nominated for the Green Education Impact Prize.
The smart life traps are equipped with a motion sensor, battery, modem and camera. The cage is linked to a database with photos of different animals. If the camera recognizes a coypu or muskrat, the trap closes. If the camera sees that it is another animal, the trap will not close. Animals like ducks, beavers and otters can then just get out again.
The students tested the cage for 2 weeks in the area of the Rivierenland water board. One of the conclusions was that you need at least 100 photos of a species to be able to recognize the captured animal. The coypu was certainly well recognized. This year the water boards will further test the smart traps that the students have developed.
In the project, the university college collaborated with, among others, the Rivierenland water board and the Union of Water Boards. The Green Education Impact Prize will be awarded on 13 February.
Muskrats and coypus traditionally do not belong in the Netherlands. They have arrived here due to human action and have no natural enemies. Muskrats and coypus dig in banks and flood defenses. This leads to security risks, economic damage and damage to biodiversity. That is why the fight against musk and beaver rats is necessary. The water boards employ nearly 400 specialized muskrat and coypu fighters. If they were not there, the population would increase rapidly.
Update 14 February 2020:
Unfortunately the students did not win. However, the water boards are continuing to develop this concept. In this video the students talk about their project.