Dimension Data and Cisco, have recently announced ramping up their Connected Conservation efforts, moving into phase two of the goodwill project aiming to stamp out animal poaching in Africa. The duo has developed anti-poaching technology that significantly reduces response times of game rangers and secures the land that wild animals roam through. The companies have run a pilot project since November 2015 in a private reserve outside the Kruger National Park, reducing rhino poaching incidents by 96%.
The anti-poaching Connected Conservation programme will be expanded to Zambia, Kenya, and Mozambique to continue protecting rhino, as well as African savanna elephants. This move follows a successful pilot which saw the two companies install some of the world’s most sophisticated technology in a private game reserve located next to the world-renowned Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Every day, hundreds of suppliers and contractors, staff, security personnel, and tourists enter and exit game reserves and parks around the world. The human activity in these environments is often not monitored because the reserve is in a remote location with basic IT infrastructure and access control, manual security processes, and very limited communication.
“Many organizations have committed to protecting animals through various reactive initiatives, such as dehorning, or inserting sensors in the horn and under the subcutaneous layer of skin, explained Dimension Data Group Executive, Bruce Watson. “However, the problem with reactive initiatives is that by the time the reserve rangers reach the animal, it has been killed and the rhino horn or elephant tusks have been hacked off.”
In setting up the pilot, Dimension Data’s professional services team designed and implemented the solution which is operated on-site as a managed service, utilizing cloud for data analytics and backup.
The technology used to implement this programme includes a reserve area network, IT infrastructure, WiFi and LANs, as well as biometrics and CCTV at every entrance gate.
Dimension Data says the problem is that most reserves have basic IT infrastructure, manual security processes and limited communication, which make it difficult to monitor human activity
With the Connected Conservation model, the technology is designed to proactively protect the land against humans. The animals are not touched and are left to roam freely while a ‘layered’ effect of sophisticated technology, people and gadgets protect them.”
Cisco and Dimension Data’s vision is to replicate the solution in South Africa, Africa, and globally to protect all forms of endangered species including lion, pangolin, elephant, tigers in India and Asia, as well as sharks and sea rays in the ocean. The next project is already underway in an unnamed park in Zambia. This will be followed by Kenya and then Mozambique with a strong focus on protecting elephant.
“We’re also working with the Zambian local authorities and the fishing community to create a centralized digital fishing permit system that will monitor individuals who pose as the fisherman but are actually poachers,” Watson said.
Cisco Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Karen Walker, said, “More than ever before, technology has given us the ability to change the world – not tomorrow, not someday, but now. At Cisco, we’re dedicated to making a difference by connecting the world and protecting the oldest and most vulnerable animals with some of the newest connectivity technology.
“Working closely with Dimension Data, we’ve established a secure, reliable network that operates 24 hours daily across game reserves in South Africa and Africa. We are extremely proud to be part of the expansion of Connected Conservation into Africa, to save more endangered species.”
Watson added: “In partnership with Cisco, our vision is to eliminate all forms of poaching globally through continuous innovation in technology to protect more vulnerable species in more countries.
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