It is encouraging to know we are working alongside so many purposeful people in wildlife conservation, yet for every step forward our community is faced with new stressors that are just as determined to reverse recovery. Poaching, climate change, and human encroachment are all powerful forces that we as humans are doing a noble job in fighting, but there is nothing shameful - especially when lives are on the line – in getting some help. In this case, technology is the reinforcement we need.
Technology is certainly creating more opportunity in wildlife conservation. From the software that enables rangers to respond faster to poaching activity, to the cameras that can discern not only good human from bad human, and which species of animal, we are well positioned to accelerate the efficacy of our efforts.
The problem is that Covid-19 has thrown that proverbial wrench into our plans. Just as the conservation community was collaborating to help evolve the tech to make it more efficient, affordable, and scalable, the pandemic has diverted critical attention and funding away from these achievements.
The beneficiaries of Endangered Rangers represent protected areas on the spectrum of technology integration. Where one concession was early in adopting technologies, another ramping up, and the other starting from scratch, their collective experience is being studied by technologists so that these innovations can be more inclusive to the variances among protected areas. These differences in size, terrain, animal density, funding, staffing, and use cases need to be considered as tools are developed. Then together, these findings will be shared with the wider conservation community to help the whole ecosystem.
During the event on December 13th, we are thrilled to be able to showcase some of these amazing innovations. From the big tech companies to entrepreneurial startups, from the artificial intelligence to the cyber security networks, these advances restore hope that people and tech together will get the upper hand against poaching, climate change, and human-wildlife conflict.
Because we can’t wait, here are a few of the empowering tools that we hope inspire you as much as they do us!
This event visualization software is the epicenter of a protected area’s operations room. This system helps rangers monitor wildlife areas and the animals within them. It collects data from multiple sensor inputs and feeds it back to the rangers. It takes information from a myriad of devices, such as animal GPS collars, trail cameras, field logs of snares from rangers on patrol, drone reporting, and more created a complete picture of a protected area in real-time. Rangers can quickly intervene when they see an animal has wandered into a village, helping to maintain healthy human co-existence with wildlife or begin to see animal migration patterns which can inform their patrols, putting them one more step ahead of the poachers. Earth Ranger continues to respond to the global needs of the conservation community and continues to be a valuable partner on this journey for many of us. Learn more about Earth Ranger.
TrailGuard AI Cameras
We referenced how technology needs to be affordable so that the thousands of protected areas can access them. TrailGuard AI cameras are being developed not only to be within financial reach of everyone who needs them, but also to be the most advanced in detecting human and animal activity. Think of it as the SimpliSafe or Ring security system for wildlife conservation. It detects movement and sends that imagery back to HQ if you will via GSM, long-range radio, or satellite networks. It’s hard to say we know anyone who works harder as everyone committed to conservation is focused 24/7, yet Founder Eric Dinerstein has been heads down with the latest advances in specific species detectors. The units were first field-tested at one of our beneficiaries, the Grumeti Reserve in Tanzania, and we hope to continue to help Eric and other reserves, parks, and even zoos test and get these devices into more hands around the world. Learn more about the Resolve TrailGuard AI Camera.
Smart Parks Elephant Tracker
Another entity dedicated to endangered species is Smart Parks who works with the community to develop internet of things (IoT) sensors and networks for wildlife protection. The team also provides solutions for park management and tourist safety, but in terms of wildlife they have been working on ways to detecting intruders in large protected areas, tracking animals with the latest open-source hardware and software, and even tracking vehicles and rangers themselves for safety and security. Their latest advancement, the ElephantEdge, is yet again emblematic of their approach to working collaboratively with partners. Learn more about the OpenCollar ElephantEdge tracker.
These are just a few examples of the incredible initiatives taking place that we need to ensure are well supported and deployed, pandemic or not. Remember to join us back here on the 13th of December to learn more about the technology ecosystem protecting our people, animals, and environment. Mark your calendars!
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Jenna is the co-founder of Zambezi Partners whose mission is to eradicate poaching in our lifetime with investment and technology.
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