Poachers targeted using innovative tech

Clare Hopping

9 May, 2018

Dimension Data and Cisco have teamed up to expand their joint Connected Conservation project – a scheme designed to help protect elephants and rhinos from poachers – into Zambia, Kenya and Mozambique.

The solution works not by attaching trackers or sensors to the animals themselves, but by tracking activity in game reserves in the countries, analysing human activity via thermal cameras mounted on radio masts to transmit data back to operatives, CCTV analytics monitoring fishermen and boats on the lake, plus outdoor Wi-Fi so data can be shared in real time.

“Many organisations have committed to protecting animals through various reactive initiatives, such as dehorning, or inserting sensors in the horn and under the subcutaneous layer of skin. However, the problem with reactive initiatives is that by the time the reserve rangers reach the animal, it has been killed and the rhino horn or elephant tusks have been hacked off,” said Bruce Watson, Dimension Data Group Executive.

“With the Connected Conservation model, the technology is designed to proactively protect the land against humans. The animals are not touched, and are left to roam freely while a ‘layered’ effect of sophisticated technology, people and gadgets protect them.”

A control room is also being built for Zambia’s special marine unit with the sole responsibility of monitoring the data being fed back to it from the various source points. The Zambian local authorities will also work with local fishermen to hand out fishing permits, making it a more regulated industry than it currently is.

“More than ever before, technology has given us the ability to change the world – not tomorrow, not someday, but now,” added Karen Walker, Cisco senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

“We’re dedicated to making a difference by connecting the world and protecting the oldest and most vulnerable animals with some of the newest connectivity technology.