Fighting Wildlife Crime with Tech Innovation
You’ve heard all the sad stories that relate to poaching and illegal trades in wildlife. But have you heard about the technology that is being created to help save wildlife? Science and technology have helped and can save wildlife, but we haven’t fully harnessed the power of it. The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge has come up with solutions that will help the wildlife trafficking problem. Crawford Allan, SR Director at TRAFFIC, stated that technology can help keep ranges alive as well as the animals in them. “I have never had as much hope as I have today. We are starting to see change,” Allan said.
Sea turtle populations are decreasing every year because the eggs continue to be stolen. But there is not much information about the transit routes and final destinations of these eggs. Eduardo Boné-Morón, Managing Director of Paso Pacifico, is developing tracking devices to detect illegal traffic routes from stolen ‘fake’ sea turtle eggs. Paso Pacifico seeks to develop a solution to monitor the movements of illegal sea turtle parts and products. The movements would provide information to government authorities and civil society for combating the illegal egg trade. During the panel, Eduardo Bone-Moron, demonstrated how his technology helps save sea turtle eggs by using Bluetooth and GPS technology.
Opposite of marine animals, there are poachers who pose a massive threat to other animals like tigers. The National Tiger Conservation Authority launched a pilot project to monitor the park using high definition cameras. This project, e-Eye, was created by Ravikant Singh, Co-Founder of Binomial Solutions. E-Eye is an innovative technology that seeks to convert wildlife crime data into information. This technology then generates an alert before the crime takes place. The surveillance system is a self learning application that becomes more efficient with its usage and builds its own intelligence on the given data. The monitoring system is equipped with high end thermal surveillance capabilities. The tool also captures the group density, average speed and other parameters.
The panel closed out with questions coming from the audience, and I witnessed such a heartwarming moment between technology, government, and the love for wildlife. Someone from the audience offered hundreds of cameras [after an approval from the government] to expand this project into other wildlife areas. It was a beautiful moment at SXSW!