Information and communications technology has transformed the planet. And fortunately, this development is helping scientists, VETPAW rangers, photographers, and conservationists protect the wildlife more effectively. As per WWF’s Living Planet report, animal populations have decreased significantly by a shocking 68% since 1970. Governments and several organizations across the world are now collaborating to develop technology and communication devices that will impact the future of wildlife.
What kind of information and communications technology is being used for wildlife conservation?
# Wildlife Advanced Monitoring Camera (WAMCam) is a battery-powered camera with satellite communications and artificial intelligence that allows the identification of different wildlife species. This technology allows remote tracking and makes wildlife monitoring safer and more efficient.
# Space applications for wildlife is a monitoring application that provides wildlife information such as trends, management advice, and crisis prevention plans to governments, NGOs, businesses, and universities across the globe.
#Thermal imaging helps deal with the challenge of patrolling vast, harsh, and remote landscapes. Placed on the perimeter of conservation areas, the cameras send automatic alerts to rangers when poachers and trespassers are detected.
# Spatial monitoring and reporting tools (SMART) and CyberTracker help rangers across the globe combat wildlife crime more effectively by integrating data from ranger patrols, analyzing local poaching trends, and measuring progress in law enforcement.
# Digital radio network allows rangers to communicate securely over long distances without interference, coordinate with headquarters, and respond swiftly to poaching incidents and illegal park entries. VETPAW has effectively utilized this tool in its anti-poaching endeavors.
# GPS-enabled cameras and smartphones allow park officials to track animal movements, as well as notate important landscape features such as water levels, forest fires, and suspicious human activity. “Smart collars” with GPS and accelerometer technology help track a wild animal’s movements in detail allowing researchers to possibly predict behavior and reduce human-animal conflicts.
# The PAWS (Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security) AI application was created to predict crimes against wildlife and fisheries. It uses game theory to create mathematical and computer models of conflict and cooperation to predict human behaviors and plan optimal approaches for containment.
# Better Mapping and Visualization is being used by organizations to illustrate threats to the survival of endangered species. Google Earth has become a real tool for the conservation and preservation of species and habitats.
# Gene sequencing is also being used by scientists to help save endangered species from life-threatening diseases.
# Predictive analytics software by IBM enables the collection of massive amounts of complex information about wildlife and the deduction of the best areas to focus the conservation efforts on.
# Social media has helped create awareness about wildlife conservation amid a new and massive audience swiftly and cost-effectively. This is another means that VETPAW has been relying upon to enable mass action and receive the support needed for wildlife conservation.
# Mobile apps such as WildScan have helped identify and report illegal wildlife trading in many areas. With a decline in smartphone costs and expansion of cellular coverage, mobile apps have enabled wider participation in the conservation cause.
VETPAW – Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife
Founded in 2013, VETPAW is a non-profit organization and a community of US war veterans dedicated to protecting African wildlife and training local African rangers in the war against poaching.
Visit VETPAW.org or call at (929) 269-5329 to make a contribution towards information and communications technology that support wildlife conservation.