The mission to save the Rhinos is one all South Africans should get behind. These majestic beasts and symbols of African power and strength are facing extinction because of the very misguided notion that their horns can make Chinese traditional medicine more effective.
Because of this myth, the Rhinos are dying in droves. They are being massacred by poachers that illegally track and kill them to extract their horns for greed and selfishness. All attempts to stop Rhino poaching through harsher enforcement and awareness seem not to be slowing Rhino poaching down fast enough.
The IBM Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud and Analytics technology may be the solution to the environmental threat that challenges the entire Rhino population.
With three Rhinos being poached a day, poachers becoming more organised and an increasingly narrow budget to protect the Rhinos, IBM and the Welgevonden Game Reserve have joined forces to use cutting-edge technology to help the conservation effort.
While IoT Technology does not have a blueprint to work within wildlife conservation, it has been very successful in several other aspects of consumer application requirements from the manufacturing industry, agriculture and even media related projects.
The IBM website reports that, “Through IBM’s IoT platform, teams monitor and collect sensor-information related to location, movement pattern, direction and average speed of travel of these animals; and are using this movement and other data to create rule-based patterns, or algorithms, built on the prey-animals’ response to perceived threats.”
“As a result, animals such as the Zebra become sentinels to their rhino brethren, and their response patterns trigger an early warning system that allows the reserve to proactively respond as soon as poachers are detected, long before any attack on a rhino might occur.
This idea of a proactive, predictive system is something that existing technology-based solutions have been unable to provide, and for Welgevonden Game Reserve, it represents the next level of defence.”
While incorporating technology to help Wildlife conservation is without a question a step in the right direction, this initiative is also unprecedented and will require a substantial amount of trial and error to perfect into a secure anti-poaching tactic. Until that day arrives it is very important to consider these numbers (provided by the Welgevonden Game Reserve):
- Over the past decade, more than 7,000 rhinos were killed across the African continent.
- In 2016, more than 1,000 were killed in South Africa alone.
- If this rate continues, some say, the rhino could become extinct in less than a decade.
The mission to save the rhino has become a high-tech operation and IBM is at the centre of it, we here at Techtron encourage every digital power to join in. Our nation’s wildlife is a responsibility that every social power must join.
Source: IMB Article by Francois Spruyt: The Internet of Things, Cloud and Analytics: The New Frontier in Protecting the Endangered Rhino