Technology that has dramatically reduced rhino poaching in a South African game reserve could be used to help other threatened species across the world, as conservationists look for new ways to stop poachers before they can reach wildlife.
Dimension Data and Cisco first introduced its Connected Conversation effort in 2015, using a mixture of sensors, CCTV, biometrics and Wi-Fi to proactively detect poachers early, in a remote area in the north-west of South Africa where there is very limited electronic communication available.
The aim of the initiative is to track people instead of animals, collecting data on those who enter the perimeter and sending park rangers alerts when unusual activity is spotted. The project has been a huge success for the area so far, having not lost a rhino to poaching since January 2017. In its first two years of operation, it managed to reduce poaching in the reserve by 96%.