Internet of Things

How IoT tech is helping African rangers protect endangered elephants from poachers

Tanzanian rangers use EarthRanger, a system that relies on data from remote sensors, to keep endangered elephants safe in their wildlife reserve.

New technology is protecting endangered elephants in Tanzania's Grumeti Game Reserve, according to a Wednesday report from Reuters. The tech platform was built to combat an influx of poaching in Africa, which decreased the elephant population by 20% between 2006 and 2015, said Reuters.

The development is known as EarthRanger, a system that gathers data from remote sensor readings of animal movements, trackers on radios and vehicles, and photos from GPS-powered geo-fences to provide rangers with a clear view of the protected zones, said the report. The tech was created by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and US philanthropist, along with technologists from his company Vulcan Inc., added the report.

SEE: Enterprise IoT research: Uses, strategy, and security (Tech Pro Research)

"EarthRanger... takes you from being reactive and always behind and always after an animal has been killed, or a ranger has been injured or killed to being proactive, to really being able to anticipate and get ahead of the problem," said Ted Schmitt, Vulcan Inc.'s business development manager for conservation technology, in the report.

Each elephant has been fitted with a tracking collar, allowing rangers to view and monitor each animal on a screen in Grumeti's EarthRanger operation room, said the report. The technology has not only made conservation efforts more efficient, but has also protected both the animals and rangers, added the release.

"Previously our job was very difficult because, for example, if you got an alert it would take a very long time before you go out to respond as you had to note it on a notebook, and rigorous communications with the radio room," said game scout Gotera Gamba in the release. Now with this technology, rangers will hopefully be able to respond and mobilize faster and more efficiently.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Tanzanian rangers are using a new technology, EarthRanger, to monitor and protect endangered elephants from poachers.
  • EarthRanger uses sensors and tracking devices to give rangers a full view of protected areas and of each elephant, protecting both animal and human lives.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/LuCaAr

About Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.

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