Counter Poaching Efforts

Information & discussion on the Rhino Poaching Pandemic
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Flutterby
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Re: Counter Poaching Efforts

Post by Flutterby » Wed May 22, 2019 8:17 am

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20 May at 19:53 ·
A radical approach to protecting southern white rhinos from poachers is a gamble that appears to be paying off. A private wildlife reserve has teamed up with the Rhino Rescue Project in a bid to save the species by infusing rhino horns with a mixture of toxins and dyes.⁣ The goal of the initiative: make rhino horn less desirable for poachers and potential buyers.⁣⁣
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Dr. Lorinda Hern of the Rhino Rescue Project, told the Associated Press that the tubular structure of the horns makes it possible to infuse liquid compounds capable of contaminating them without doing any harm to the animals themselves. "You can see quite a lot of seepage from inside the horn some distance away from the infusion device," says Hern. "And so there is quite clearly is movement within this horn, which would obviously be impossible if horns weren't permeable."⁣⁣
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The Rhino Rescue Project started testing the method on their own animals in 2010 and has carried out approximately 700 infusions since then. So far, only 2% of rhinos with a toxin-infused horn have been poached, a total that reserve owner Anthony Baber is thankful for. "We believe that there is merit in doing this," Baber told the Associated Press. "There is nothing else that you can do apart from de-horning the rhino and no one wants to take a photograph of a rhino without a horn."⁣⁣
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According to the World Wildlife Fund, rhino horn has become a party drug and a health supplement believed to be a cure for everything from hangovers to cancer in countries like China and Vietnam.⁣⁣

Hern says rhino horns are still leaving South Africa's borders at an alarming rate, but the Rhino Rescue Project and the University of the Witwatersrand hope to develop an implant to better track rhinos trafficked to other countries.⁣⁣
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"We have partnered with Wits University in an attempt to improve on the procedure with the addition of radioactive isotopes," says Hern. "So now you can make rhino horns that have been treated highly detectable, even by using benign sources of radiation, so that across international borders, they can't be smuggled at all."⁣

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Re: Counter Poaching Efforts

Post by Richprins » Wed May 22, 2019 8:42 am

A number of pages here about the same process that was mooted in 2014:


viewtopic.php?f=197&t=3618&start=570
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Re: Counter Poaching Efforts

Post by Lisbeth » Wed May 22, 2019 9:21 am

I remember this phrase:
and that KNP had a sizeable stockpile of horns that it would never be able to sell if the reputation of SA horn was tainted.
O/

Those horns are many more than the rhinos poached during a few years :evil:
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Re: Counter Poaching Efforts

Post by Klipspringer » Thu May 23, 2019 3:54 pm

A presentation from the Savana Science Network Meeting 2019 by Sam Ferreira & Danie Pienaar


Perhaps some clever people here can make any sense of it lol

https://www.sanparks.org/assets/docs/co ... -guard.pdf


and some funny maths for population estimates and future trends

https://www.sanparks.org/assets/docs/co ... itions.pdf

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Re: Counter Poaching Efforts

Post by Richprins » Thu May 23, 2019 5:17 pm

Thanks, Klippies!

The power point is interesting but one would have to have been there and privileged, I suppose?

They lost me a bit with this nonsense: increased militarization alienate people and re-enforce social injustices

It is plain criminality and stealing, and ironically a bit further down they say how more rhino were poached in the high-protected zone than outside, which means there are predominantly inside jobs and informants. The locusts will kill every last rhino, community or no community.
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Re: Counter Poaching Efforts

Post by Richprins » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:14 am

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Re: Counter Poaching Efforts

Post by Richprins » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:43 am

10 steps ahead’: Kenya’s tech war on wildlife poachers

Every morning, at the far perimeter of the wildlife reserve capped by Mount Kenya, a khaki-clad ranger meticulously sweeps the earth of animal footprints, covering their tracks from any poachers.


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The sanctuary houses the world's last two northern white rhinos, Najin and her daughter Fatu, seen in their enclosure in the private conservancy of Ol-Pejeta in Nanyuki | © AFP | TONY KARUMBA


by Nick Perry
Ol Pejeta (Kenya) (AFP) |

It’s an antiquated approach to outsmarting would-be hunters, but this ranger is not alone. High on a mast nearby, a new camera scans around the clock for intrusions, relaying real-time images to armed guards at park headquarters.

It is among the latest technology deployed to combat poaching at Ol Pejeta, a private conservancy on Kenya’s Laikipia plateau that shelters the only two northern white rhinos left on earth, among other endangered giants.

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Leading the fight against poachers — an antenna rigged for real-time transmission of images from a mounted camera to detect unauthorised intrusions and tip off armed guards at park headquarters | © AFP | TONY KARUMBA

A handful of surveillance cameras may not seem very sophisticated for a sanctuary which is also home to the largest population of critically endangered black rhinos anywhere in East Africa.

But it’s just the tip of the spear.

Last month, Ol Pejeta launched what it calls the world’s first wildlife tech lab — a research hub at the heart of the sanctuary dedicated to bringing conservation management into the information age.

Inside a retrofitted shipping container, computer engineers are testing the next generation of animal tracking chips and developing remote sensors that could one day monitor everything from ranger health to river levels.

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Richard Vigne, Ol-Pejeta chief executive, says the site “is pretty cutting-edge from a conservation perspective” but admits “we are very much in our infancy when it comes to this kind of stuff” | © AFP | TONY KARUMBA

“We are very much in our infancy when it comes to this kind of stuff. It is pretty cutting-edge from a conservation perspective,” Richard Vigne, the chief executive of Ol Pejeta, told AFP.

Among other projects, researchers are working towards a chip small enough to fit in a rhino horn, but capable of live transmission of the animals’ exact location and core vitals.

“No one else in the conservation space in Kenya is testing this… For me, that was very exciting,” said Damian Otieno, a Kenyan IT engineer who left an office job for a career in conservation tech, and now leads the Ol Pejeta initiative.

Tech advocates say advances in data collection and smart applications on game reserves could prove revolutionary, and upend decades-old approaches to conservation across the world.

– ‘Bank without doors’ –

Until this year at Ol Pejeta, the only way to know if a poacher was lurking near a wildlife corridor was to spot him yourself, or trawl through pictures captured by a motion-triggered camera trap.

“If I had a bugbear about the world of conservation, it’s that it tends to be fairly slow on the uptake when it comes to new technologies… that has to change,” said Vigne.

Now, three cameras with artificial intelligence capable of telling man from beast send alerts in real time if disturbances are detected.

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Damian Otieno, an IT engineer, demonstrates on his computer how the technology is applied to animal tracking at what the company has dubbed the world’s first wildlife tech lab, using ultra hi-tech to combat poaching | © AFP | TONY KARUMBA

This is critical for the 250 elite rangers tasked with safeguarding 360 square kilometres (90,000 acres) of bushland grazed by more than 150 rhinos.

The last successful poaching at Ol Pejeta was in October 2017, when a northern black rhino was slaughtered.

But the threat remains. Last year, three rhinos were found dead with their horns missing in Meru National Park, on the other side of Mount Kenya.

Rhino horn is highly valued in parts of Asia for its believed medicinal qualities and still fetches higher prices than gold, said Samuel Mutisya, head of conservation at Ol Pejeta.

“In principal, we are a bank without doors,” he told AFP.

Most intel on game reserves is gathered on foot by rangers in difficult and dangerous terrain, and the walkie-talkie reigns supreme.

Poor network coverage and the huge cost of infrastructure has hamstrung the rollout of even basic telecommunication services in some remote habitats.

– ‘Ten steps ahead’ –

Ol Pejeta however is connected to a stable network that requires little power to cover the entire park. Data on everything from security breaches to fence damage, lion sightings and ranger locations is fed into a digital dashboard, accessible at a finger’s touch.

A pair of flashing handcuffs on the screen indicates an arrest. A “poacher contact” alert would trigger the immediate deployment of armed rangers.

Image
Taking the hi-tech fight to poachers will help to facilitate the work of game rangers such as those on this foot patrol, who be able to respond to security breaches flashed up by the system | © AFP | TONY KARUMBA

Other innovations have been tested elsewhere in Africa to combat wildlife crime, but cost remains a major hurdle to widespread uptake.

Drones, thermal-imaging cameras and virtual-radar fences were among technologies trialled to mixed success in several African nations by WWF through a Google-backed programme that ended in 2017.

FLIR Systems, which manufactures night-vision cameras, said in January its technology, already deployed in the Masai Mara, would be expanded to 10 Kenyan parks and game reserves.

Vigne said the challenge for Ol Pejeta’s researchers would be developing solutions that can be replicated cost-effectively, at scale.

“It’s all very well having one or two parks in Africa with lots of tech, but if that is really costly to the point that nobody else can do it, then it’s a waste of time,” he said.

Prototypes of small, inexpensive chips with years-long battery life are already being tested to track the conservancy’s 6000-strong herd of Boran cattle.

https://lowvelder.co.za/afp/753990/10-s ... -poachers/
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Re: Counter Poaching Efforts

Post by Lisbeth » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:49 am

Great! But it is taking too much time. This kind of things should have been installed when the poaching started.

A couple of reserves in the Greater Kruger started this kind of surveillance 2/3 years ago.

Better late than never \O
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Re: Counter Poaching Efforts

Post by Richprins » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:15 am

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Re: Counter Poaching Efforts

Post by Lisbeth » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:36 pm

That will certainly help :O^
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