Tracking technology developed by the Allen Institute for AI, which is funded by the estate of the late Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, will be deployed in national parks across Africa, covering an area almost the size of the UK, in a bid to combat poaching and habitat loss.
The EarthRanger system will be installed in six game reserves in Botswana, Mozambique and the Republic of the Congo. It will cover areas populated by endangered wildlife, from elephants to gorillas and chimpanzees, according to a statement issued by the institute and project sponsors and partners, which include the Global Environment Facility and Conservation International.
With wildlife tourism being a major source of foreign exchange for many countries in Africa, the failure to protect endangered species could have a ripple effect on these economies. Poachers who target animals like rhinos and elephants are often part of organized crime syndicates and are equipped with technology to help them locate targets and quickly transport body parts like horns or teeth, or even live animals.
The EarthRanger system collects data from sources including animal collars and vehicle tracking devices over a wide area, enabling more efficient allocation of resources to prevent or react to poaching, park incursions, and wildlife degradation. habitats.
Offered as a free service, the tracking system was developed in 2015 as part of the Great Elephant Census, a program to measure the size of the African savannah elephant population by evaluating data from aerial surveys, and since then it has been used to combat poaching and track lobsters. swarms
The system will “help protected area managers, ecologists, and wildlife biologists make more informed operational decisions for wildlife conservation,” said Claude Gascon, GEF program manager.
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