Wondrous Xinjiang: Herding camels with BeiDou satellites
URUMQI, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Camel No. 3 was 4.16 km away and the battery in its navigation collar was sitting at just 20 percent.
Badumara, a herder in Bohu County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, received the information on a smartphone app. Assisted by China's homegrown BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), the app can help him track all of his 200-plus camels.
"I'll collect the battery for recharging and herd the camel here. Get some water ready for it," he said to his wife before getting on his motorcycle.
On July 31, 2020, China officially commissioned BDS, opening the new BDS-3 system to global users. Applications of the system have been widely introduced into various fields, including smart husbandry.
For 64-year-old Badumara, who is from a herders' family and has been herding since he was 12, the technology has completely changed the way he works.
"We used to herd on camelback and had to move all the time wherever the camels went. It was hard work," Badumara said as he recalled his early herding years.
In the 1980s, Badumara got himself a motorcycle and bid farewell to the nomadic life. However, from time to time, he had to embark on missions to find stray camels.
"When the motorcycle broke down on the way, we had to spend the night in the wild and continue the search the next day on foot," he said.
Three years ago, Badumara started to use BeiDou's navigation services to help him herd camels. With navigation collars attached to the camels, he has been able to use a smartphone to track their whereabouts and speed.
"On the phone, we can easily find out where the camels are eating or drinking," said Badumara. "I just need to check on them once every seven to 10 days."
Many of Badumara's fellow herders have also benefited from the new technology. Now, more than 1,000 navigation collars have been used for camel herding in Bohu County.
In the future, Badumara said, he will make full use of the functions of the BeiDou system, including the pedometer and temperature monitor, to ensure that every camel is in good condition.