Poachers around the world is killing wildlife and several endangered species are on the verge of extinction. In 2013 alone, hunters exported 49 lion trophies from Zimbabwe. A study conducted by the journal Public Library of Science in 2013 estimated that over 96 lions were hunted per year between 1996 and 2006 Zimbabwe. In South Africa, Rhino poaching increased to 1,215 in 2014, from 13 in 20107. Internet of Things has garnered the attention of the governments around the world. Experts are now using IoT to stop poaching and protect engendered animals.
Internet of Things has provided governments worldwide with some excellent tools using which they could save the endangered species. International Humane Society has started a project called Project RAPID (Real-time Anti Poaching Intelligence Device) to protect Rhinos. The project uses satellite signals, heart rate monitoring and video-streaming to keep a track of animals. Animal saving teams are also implanting sensors and trackers on Rhino horns to track their movement. Whenever the heart rate and stress levels of a Rhinos increases, the IoT devices generate alerts so anti-poaching teams could track the hunters in time.
LoRaWAN in Action in Rwanda
Earlier this year, Rwanda’s Akagera National Park launched a new system to track and protect animals. The system is based on Long Range Wide-Area Network (LoRaWAN). The benefit of this networking technology is that it is available in cheap rates, and has the ability to provide excellent coverage. LoRaWAN technology is also in use in several IoT-based smart city projects, including a major project in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In Rwanda, the LoRaWAN network is based on 12 towers which are installed in the park. These towers have solar-powered sensors.
IBM is also playing a key role in war against poachers. IBM’s Big Data platform Watson is being used with MTN in Africa to stop the poaching of Zebras and Rhinos. IBM is also using LORA technology IoT bands, which relay data and signals over long ranges. These signals are received and processed by IBM’s Watson for further analysis and actions.
Challenges for IoT-based Anti-Poaching Technologies
Keep in mind that IoT-based technologies to catch poaches and protect animals have a long way to go. Poachers aren’t aloof to the changing trends. A study shows that Poachers in India use VHF technology to intercept sensor signals and to disable the IoT devices. Experts are also working to fix the problems of battery life, video bandwidth and connectivity of the IoT device to protect animals. IoT devices need charging, and it is very difficult to track animals in the vast wilderness to take down the devices attached to them and charge them.