[The Vets] Small chip, big help

This person came into your life 10 years ago. He picked you up when you fell off your bike and sent you to the clinic. You thanked him. He smiled and left. You try to recall his name. Or his face. You couldn’t.

Unless you have a photographic memory, you – like me – would have met hundreds of people in your life that you’ll have trouble putting a name or a face to. Imagine how much harder it is to identify animals.

At the Marine Life Park (MLP), the vets employ the use of a microchip to tell the 100,000 marine animals apart.

The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) microchip is smaller than a 5-cent coin, costs about S$15 and is used by veterinarians worldwide to identify all kinds of animals, from dogs to birds and even fishes.

Smaller than a 5-cent coin, but bigger in what it can achieve
Smaller than a 5-cent coin, but bigger in what it can achieve

Once the RFID microchip is implanted into the animal’s muscle in a quick five-minute process, its unique signature can be easily read with an external microchip reader. The MLP’s iconic marine animals, such as the eagle rays, leopard sharks and black-blotched stingrays, get a microchip upon arrival.

Implanting a microchip on the left wing of a spotted eagle ray
Implanting a microchip on the left wing of a spotted eagle ray

When the vets perform routine checks on their blood and physical health, they cross check each animal’s past health records in the database using its unique identifier. By comparing past history, any irregularities in the animal’s health can be detected and early actions can be taken to help them.

The microchip reader is easy to use in the field to identify each animal
The microchip reader is easy to use in the field to identify each animal

With the microchip, keeping track of these animals is simply a matter of point and shoot – with the microchip reader. Now, imagine if we have a similar tool to help us keep track of acquaintances. Like some sort of glasses, maybe…

[The Vets] gives you insights on some of the things the Marine Life Park vets do at work.

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