Firstly, I would like to say a big thank-you to all those who have helped and advised since the outset. I won’t mention names, but you all know who you are that have enabled me to get to this point.
PROJECT CamTag® is at the beginning stages of a journey, although work has been going on behind the scenes for nearly 3 years. It was only made public a year ago, and promoted more so recently with the launch of this site Raptor3ET.com a couple of weeks ago. I hope you have taken some time to look around my website to see what I and the site are all about? In a nutshell I am trying to raise funds to enable a feasibility study (FS) to be started, which will hopefully pave the way for the design and manufacture of a CAMERA Satellite Tag. CamTag®. For years I’ve heard the same words, when will cameras be fitted to satellite tags, it is envisaged that this project could bring that idea one step closer with a positive result of Stage 1 of the project. In just the past couple of weeks alone, it’s been revealed via Raptor Persecution UK that at least 4 Hen Harriers vanished without trace in September 2020 (see here and here). The killing of Birds of Prey has been relentless during this lockdown as it was in the first lockdown, with reports of various raptor species being shot on an almost daily basis, not just on Driven Grouse Moors but all around the UK. What better reason does anyone need, to dream that Project Camtag® might one day deliver the quality evidence needed to convict those responsible for these illegal acts?
I would probably be the first to admit that a feasibility study doesn’t sound the most exciting thing in the world, but a FS is an essential part of the jigsaw when it comes to bringing a new concept as this to the market place. For obvious reasons, at this stage the fine details of what will be in the FS cannot be divulged. Some information I have disclosed, in respect of what I am trying to achieve: i.e. Firstly, the obvious or at least it is to me, is a tag with a camera – CamTag®, that will capture the person/s responsible for pulling the trigger, but along with that, the team working around me will be hoping to be able to incorporate data such as stress levels, distance of fall from the sky, exact location & time of a ‘downed bird’ in as near real time as possible. I would point out that these are not guaranteed outcomes by any means, and that they are only some of the criteria proposed to be examined in the FS.
To me, developing a tag offering quality data and reliability goes without saying. One of my aims is to be able to capture quality data that will act as good evidence in future crime cases. Isn’t that something we would all like? (Driven Grouse Moor gamekeepers aside that is!). Advances in technology now allow exactly this type of project to go ahead, something that was only written about as a future possibility a decade or two ago. It’s known there are poor tags on the market, I for one, have no interest in designing something that is of a poor standard. Although looking ahead at what the possibilities might be, it is important to bear in mind that we mustn’t jump the gun (no pun intended) as far as the process is concerned, and that we all stay focused, and try to complete and achieve a good outcome for Stage 1. Get past this, going towards stage 2 and then things will get very exciting. If I was to get to the manufacture stage, rigorous testing and welfare of the birds would be paramount above anything else. My ultimate goal would be to produce a product fit for purpose that can then be handed over to the right organisation that will take control of the governance.
All of the above will only be possible with help from you, the people reading this. I would like to think that birders, the general public, and basically anyone interested in helping protect our wildlife from being illegally killed, will get behind my project and keep boosting my JustGiving crowdfunder to enable the feasibility study to be started. The sooner I can get to the target the sooner PROJECT CamTag® can start, go ahead MAKE MY DAY!