Pilot project

In 2015, Connected Conservation was developed - an initiative to help protect and stop the poaching of rhinos and other species through smart technological solutions, was formed. The project began with the pilot in a private game reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa and reduced poaching by 96% in the first two years of installation. The project was first-of-its kind as it was proactive and tracked the movement of people, leaving the animals to roam freely in their natural habitat.

Challenge

The reserve stretches 62,000 hectares and has perimeter fencing along 72 kilometres. There are no fences between Kruger National Park and the private game reserve. Rhino populations were being decimated and animals were being poached for bush meat. Before the project was implemented, the private game reserve was losing at least one rhino per week. Response times were over 30 minutes and by that time, the poachers had killed the animal and had taken the horns. Rangers on the ground were doing their best but the constant rate of poaching diluted their resources and prevented them from stopping illegal people from entering the reserve and causing harm.

How

The pilot solution was designed and is operated as a managed service on-site, using cloud for data analytics and backup. A point-to-multi-point radio area network provides a high-security ‘net’ over the entire reserve. Strong and reliable communications facilitate alerts and warnings, providing the ability to share live footage across the park. A refreshed and updated IT infrastructure improves bandwidth, connecting Wi-Fi and local area networks at each gate.

Increasing security at each entry point is critical via biometrics and CCTV cameras. Newly installed systems scan passports, identity cards, and capture vehicle registration plates on arrival. Connection between the reseve and the national database offers immediate analysis and comparison of vehicle licensing, ownership, and historical entry and exit data.

Thermal cameras along the fenceline and magnetic sensors buried along the park’s perimeter detect any movement as far as 1.8 kilometres away. Low range wide area network use unlicensed radio spectrum, enabling communication between remote sensors and gateways connected to the network. In the event of a breach, helicopter availability ensures prompt response to identified threats. The online software tool, Earthranger is used to collect, integrate and display all historical and real-time data available from the reserve.

We're protecting animals by tracking the movement of people using the power of technology. 

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