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Vital Connectivity to 19 Parks in 10 African Countries

Reliable, managed internet connectivity, for Starlink and terrestrial services, enabling data-driven conservation 

Partners: African Parks, Cisco

Key Species: Western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants, Ruwenzori black-and-white colobus, black lechwe, Kordofan giraffe, wild dog,

Deployment: 2023


Africa boasts a quarter of the world's biodiversity. Yet, with climate change and human populations growing three times faster than the global average, the strain on limited resources is unprecedented.


Protected areas emerge as strongholds against encroachment, serving as the last sanctuaries for species hovering on the brink of extinction. Out of the 161 protected areas identified by African Parks, a staggering 60% are still in dire need of effective management solutions. Jean Labuschagne, Director of African Parks, emphasises, "Protected area designation alone doesn't ensure survival into the future. Proper management is imperative to prevent loss."

Partnership and data-driven approach for Protected Area Management

Founded in 2000, African Parks pioneered a partnership model for managing protected areas, fostering stability for wildlife and local communities. This model delivers vital infrastructure and services to Africa's remotest regions—from roads to water, electricity to digital infrastructure. In 2023, Connected Conservation Foundation and Cisco, proudly supported African Parks with management of their internet connectivity across 19 parks, as part of their digital infrastructure provision for some of the world’s most remote areas. 

Monitoring data, real-time information and communications is crucial for the effective management of protected areas.

“You can’t equate a park to being like a household. It doesn’t just have one router, one internet connection” says Geoff Clinning, African Parks' Manager of Technology Development. “When managing multiple parks, you are managing hundreds of internet access points, where African Parks has around 4,200 devices online at any one time.” 

Connectivity: The lifeline of modern park management

At the core of data-driven conservation operations lies a reliable internet connection, facilitating wildlife monitoring, allocation of resources, research and community engagement, all crucial for safeguarding biodiversity. Enterprise-level IT solutions have been deployed across 19 Park Headquarters in ten African countries, including the pristine landscapes of Bazaruto, the lush forests of Rwanda, and the untamed wilderness of the Central African Republic.

Through the unified deployment of Cisco Meraki routers to their parks, African Parks has embraced an enterprise-level IT solution, enabling the management of connectivity of these parks from their central headquarters. With African Park's increasing use of both StarLink Satellite Internet and terrestrial services, remote management allows a central support team to harness new global connectivity and manage access and bandwidth for different tasks, where latency and uptime can be an issue. 

Geoff Clinning, African Parks' Manager of Technology Development, asserts, "Our team possesses the expertise to distribute and manage this invaluable resource centrally. Adding internet connectivity to our extensive toolbox for fostering peace and security is not just a choice but a necessity."

Consumer-grade equipment is no longer sufficient for African Parks' increased reliance on online services. Protected areas now demand more network stability, visibility and control of internet capacity usage to enable park members to work and utilise cloud services effectively. As conservation is moving to the cloud, it ensures a more reliable backup of data and facilitates easier and more transparent data sharing between collaborators.

For instance, Earth Ranger, a vital conservation tool, previously faced loading issues due to insufficient internet capacity. This barrier has now been overcome, unlocking access to more software and resources for the park's security and conservation teams.

Furthermore, African Parks can now remotely manage bandwidth allocation from a centralised vantage point, ensuring that every morsel of internet capacity is channelled towards vital conservation work. The Meraki routers, deftly prioritise traffic flows, block unauthorised usage, and optimise bandwidth usage during peak hours.

Gratitude to partners

"This donation is sustainable for us long-term," adds Geoff. “Usually, operating on the enterprise level, you incur monthly costs. With this donation, we don’t have to worry about budgeting to cover these charges for the next five years thanks to Cisco.”

“The Connected Conservation Foundation plays a pivotal role in harnessing enterprise-level in-kind donations needed to drive impacts on a grand scale. To truly make a difference, we must undertake landscape-level initiatives, necessitating the best level of equipment, services and resources."

With Cisco's support team, technical glitches are swiftly resolved, ensuring uninterrupted service in the most remote corners of the continent.

When we invest in tech, we invest in people 

This collaboration transcends the realm of technology; it's a testament to investing in people—those on the frontline of conservation, tirelessly working to safeguard our natural heritage, and researchers utilising connectivity to unravel new insights into human-wildlife conflict or analysing poacher behaviour. Through this partnership, African Parks has not only strengthened its technological digital infrastructure but has also empowered its team dedicated to conserving natural resources and biodiversity and fostering peace and security for people.

Enterprise Level IT Solutions Have Been Deployed
Lush Forests Of Rwanda
19 Sites In Remote Areas Are Now Benefiting Across 10 Countries (1)
Management And Infrastructure And Operations In Akagera National Park In Rwanda © Scott Ramsay
African Parks Remotely Ensures Every Morsel Of Internet Is Channeled To Conservation (C) Maggie Hirschauer
African Parks Has Around 4,200 Devices Online At Any One Time (C) Teve Lorenz Fischerafrican Parks Has Around 4,200 Devices Online At Any One Time (C) Teve Lorenz Fischer
Protected Areas Now Demand More Network Stability, Visibility And Control Of Capacity Usage Of The Internet,

The Connected Conservation Foundation plays a pivotal role in harnessing enterprise-level in-kind donations needed to drive impacts on a grand scale. 

Geoff Clinning, African Parks' Manager of Technology Development
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