Home Environment Hi-tech solution to curb rhino poaching in South Africa

Hi-tech solution to curb rhino poaching in South Africa

South Africa: Wildlife ACT, a South African conservation company; and Stone Holdings, a security design company; formed a partnership, known as Diceros. The partnership aims to unveil a technological solution to the poaching surge in the region.

As part of the partnership, to curb the menace of rhino poaching in South Africa, Wildlife Act will use radar technology used by the US military, visual and thermal cameras, perimeter detection devices, communications interceptors, unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground sensors.

Leslie Steenkamp, Director, Stone Holdings, said, “It is not like a normal house alarm. We are not interfering with the animal, but keeping the environment around it sterile and using hi-tech equipment to do that.” Adding further, Steenkamp stated that the technology could detect humans, vehicles and “even pick up a snare”.

But such equipment will not come cheap. Dr Simon Morgan, a founding member of Wildlife ACT said, “You are not going to be about to protect an area without putting in resources. It is in the millions (of rand), not thousands.”

A number of factors determined the cost of the system, Dr Morgan explained. These included the size of the reserve, the terrain — for example, if the landscape was hilly, it would not be possible to use radar — and whether there was a common boundary with another reserve using the technology.

However, Dr Morgan highlighted that anti-rhino poaching was not the only application of this system. “Everyone is focusing on rhino, which is important and a key factor, but people aren’t aware of the bush meat trade, and we’re also losing other game as well, vultures, cheetahs, wild dogs. It’s completely unsustainable.”

He said it could also be used on coastal lines to stop abalone poaching and secure farms. “This technology exists, we just need to implement it.”

Source: African Conservation Foundation