Creating a virtual fence line to stop poaching and illegal fishing
Partner: Game Rangers International
Key Species: Elephant, Hippo, Pangolin, Lion, Wild Dog
Since its deployment in 2017, this project has addressed a unique challenge. In Zambia, the government allows local people to buy permits to fish in the lake to feed their families. Still poachers pose as fishermen and enter the reserve illegally undetected in boats to poach elephants and to take bushmeat. The solution, a virtual fence line of thermal imaging cameras to detect and intercept illegal entry into the protected area, has helped teams to intercept several known incursions and led to a significant number of apprehensions. It has provided an effective deterrent against illegal fishing and poaching activities.
A newly constructed joint operation centre acts as a base and connects multiple radio masts along the water’s edge to create a permanent network barrier around the lake. The masts have fixed pan, tilt and zoom thermal cameras to detect any unusual activity across the lake and can directly intercept a speedboats operation to stop the activity. The use of CCTV, thermal and handheld cameras, a newly installed Wi-Fi and local area network, and an online software tool called EarthRanger are used in combination to help local teams protect wildlife in the reserve.
- Network connectivity and real-time data to help protect 200,000 hectares of wildlife habitat
- Infrastructure for radio masts and network connectivity across the lake bringing data to a new joint operations centre
- Thermal cameras to create a virtual fence line to intercept illegal activity
- Improvement in real-time data to detect small fishing boats