Connected Conservation project aims to use WiFi, analytics, and other technology to thwart poachers.
The numbers are heartbreaking: 1,215 rhinos were killed by poachers in 2014, according to the South African Department of Environmental Affairs. If the rate of poaching continues, the rhino could vanish in South Africa by 2025.
Cisco has partnered with Dimension Data on a project that aims to thwart rhino poaching in South Africa with technology that tracks potential poachers supplying the illegal horn trade. The companies said they deployed the technology in an unnamed private game reserve next to Kruger National Park to monitor people entering and exiting the reserve. The idea is to provide park rangers with an early warning of criminals entering the reserve illegally by cutting fences or driving through entrance gates.
The first phase of Connected Conservation project involved creating a secure Reserve Area Network and installing WiFi hotspots at key points. The second phase involves adding CCTV, drones with infrared cameras, thermal imaging, vehicle tracking sensors, and seismic sensors.
The companies hope to replicate the technology in other reserves in Africa and around the world to protect rhino and other endangered species such as elephants and lions. You can learn more about the project in this video:
Others also are using technology in an effort to stop poaching of endangered animals. For example, Air Shepard links drone operators and support staff in Africa with supercomputing resources at the University of Maryland to thwart poaching of elephants and rhino.