Australia trials LoRaWAN smart lighting in bid to save turtle hatchlings
The wellbeing of turtle hatchlings appears to have swung the case for smart lighting along the coast in Queensland, in Australia. A short strip of street lighting in the Shire of Livingstone, a small coastal locality near the city of Rockhampton in Central Queensland, has been swapped-out for dimmable amber-coloured bulbs to protect local turtle population from the glare of artificial LED lights.
Sea turtles create nesting areas on urban coastal esplanades close to the water in the region, and their hatchlings, disorientated by street lighting, can struggle to see the natural horizon and veer off course as they make their way from land to sea. Those that make it out to sea can also be lured back to the land by strong coastal lights. Only around one in 1,000 turtle hatchlings reach maturity,.
In total, four street lights along the Zilzie Esplanade in Livingstone have been replaced with amber bulbs, connected over LoRaWAN, to test if smart street lighting makes a difference, and protects the local turtle population. The solution utilises Australian IoT provider NNNCo’s local LoRaWAN network and N2N-L data platform, and Europe-based IntelliLight’s lighting controls and Flashnet platform.
NNNCo rolled out LoRaWAN in the area last year, and the council has leveraged the network for a number of applications, apparently. Australian state-owned utility Ergon Energy has been involved to swap out the lights; the local Marine Parks and Wildlife Service and Fitzroy Basin Association group have also been engaged.
Andrea Friend, in charge of water and waste management for the council, commented: “It is vital the council helps to maximise nesting success and hatchling survival. Zilzie is a well-known nesting area for sea turtles and it’s important that Council acts to protect the species with this trial. Council has contacted nearby residents to explain the changes to the street lighting which will remain in place throughout the 2021 turtle hatchling season.”
Rob Zagarella, chief executive at NNNCo, said: “This is a fantastic example of the good that IoT can do in the world. Smart street lighting can provide cities and communities with significant energy and cost savings, but now we’re also seeing life-giving benefits like this one.”