by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SOME 8 000 rhinoceros have been killed- including 508 last year- since the start of the poaching epidemic a decade ago.
This makes South Africa one of the most hostile for the endangered species, with one of the highest poaching rates in the world.
With the world now revolving around technology, it is anticipated a new partnership can at least address the menace after failure of previous measures.
The new innovative security measure has been introduced in the Eastern Cape Province to coincide with the just-concluded commemorations of the Earth Day, which is celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
Mobile network operator, Vodacom, and Celcom, a distributor of mobile accessories, have partnered to roll out the initiative at the Addo Elephant National Park, which also shelters rhinos.
This includes the provision of mobile devices that have been programmed with an application software (Cmore) to help protect the park from poachers.
The smartphones have been enabled with real-time tracking of rangers out in the veld which is crucial in protecting their safety and security.
The application also allows rangers to enter information such as poaching incidents, poacher sightings, carcass locations or logging a patrol.
John Adendorff, the national park’s Conservation Manager, said the technology was handy as ranger teams need the ability to detect events, follow forces in the field, collaborate between one another and receive rapid feedback.
He explained the more enabled cell-phones would be issued per two-man patrol and will be switched on automatically to monitor the rangers’ positions, who were able to plot any incidents they come across in the field on the system.
“If needed, additional forces can be deployed immediately, effectively and precisely through GPS co-ordinates,” Adendorff said.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) developed the application that is based on modern web and mobile technology.
Travis Goate, Vodacom Eastern region executive head of sales and marketing, said the partnership is a perfect demonstration of the transformative power of technology.
He said technology could play a key role in the protection of the planet.
“In addition, we have aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which we use to guide our efforts in social upliftment and environmental protection programmes,” Goate added.
Earth Day is celebrated annually on April 22. This year’s edition was marked under the theme, “Protect our Species.”
It aims to draw attention to the rapid extinction of species in the world today, which is directly linked to human activities. These include deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and use of pesticides.
– CAJ News