Kasigau: poachers detected!

Tsavo East, Tsavo West, and the Kasigau Wildlife Corridor which connects them form the largest natural reserve in Kenya. Elephants, lions, giraffe, and many other species roam the area freely. It’s a lust for the eye. A treasure to cherish!

A real threat to this paradise is poaching. Not only to the animals, but also to the (unarmed) rangers that protect them. Two years ago two of them were shot by poachers. One ranger was killed. The other survived, but has a prosthetic shoulder since. This hero is still a ranger.

To help the rangers to stop poaching, SensingClues joined Tech-For-Tusks, a  project in which Wildlife Works, ShadowView, ProTrek, Microflown, NCSR, and SensingClues collaborate to protect elephants. After months of hard work, this was a very exciting opportunity to test our newly developed early warning system.

With baboons looking over our shoulders, long days and nights were spend to test, improve, and re-test our sensors. Until we were satisfied. Since this weekend our camouflaged sensors are on the alert for poaching activities. Tireless. Relentless. Once a poacher is detected, an alert is send to the patrolling rangers, directing them straight away to the actual threat.

Last Wednesday, only days after the sensors had been placed, the first alert came through. Human behaviour had been detected near a pond which elephants regularly visit. Being a restricted area, no people are allowed there. Verification learned that it was not a ranger. Hence, this was an all hands on deck situation!

A short while later we learned our poacher was actually a lost soul, taking her father on a safari. Although we were a bit disappointed with this outcome, the system had proven its strength. We’ve been able to detect human activity and alert the rangers in real-time!

It’s a really nice feeling to put the rangers on the right track. It’s good to know they are on the alert and ready to respond..