Poachers be warned! A new smartphone app developed in St Petersburg in Florida, USA, is being used by counter-poaching authorities in Kenya to identify, track, and destroy elephant poaching networks.
Fulcrum, which uses a geospatial technology was developed by a team located in St Petersburg, is being used to fight poachers in Northern Kenya. Perfected by municipalities and businesses to collect forms and field data, Fulcrum is now being used to relay information quickly about the location of elephants and ivory smugglers to game rangers before poachers have a chance to strike.
The counter-poaching initiative known as tenBoma is being piloted by the non-governmental International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Kenya Wildlife Service. It is designed to protect the most endangered Kenyan wildlife by identifying, mapping, and destroying poaching networks.
“IFAW’s tenBoma project is taking the lessons learned from counter-terrorism and applying them to wildlife protection. Fulcrum is a powerful new weapon being used in the battle to destroy poaching networks,” said IFAW President Mr Azzedine Downes.
Making patrol easier and faster
With the help of the app, authorities are able to locate elephant poachers and, in turn, plan their patrols more effectively.
“With patrols using Fulcrum-equipped smartphones, these teams traverse the plains looking for poachers, and plot observations on a real-time map shared with authorities and wardens. Reports from the field will be assembled in a new crime tracking center to be analyzed, interpreted, and shared with local law enforcement and government communities,” said Mr Downes.
Commenting on the tenBoma initiative, American Geographical Society Chief executive Dr John Konarski said it is one of the most important internationally-based projects to effectively address the problem of illegal wildlife trade.
“The work of the Fulcrum team on the tenBoma initiative is recognized worldwide as a model for combating the effects of illegal wildlife trafficking on global security. The experts at Fulcrum and their smartphone technology, lead the industry in having a real and practical impact on fighting terrorism and protecting our wildlife,” added Dr Konarski.
This comes as the population of wildlife in Africa continues to dwindle due to habitat loss, poaching, and trafficking, World Wildlife Day says.
According to the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the killing of African elephants and trafficking in their ivory remain alarmingly high. An estimate shows that about 100,000 elephants were slaughtered for their ivory between 2010 and 2012.
To continue raising awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants, on 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim March 3, the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as UN World Wildlife Day.
This years’ World Wildlife Day was celebrated on Thursday, March 3, 2016, under the theme “The future of wildlife is in our hands.” Countries around the world are encouraged to highlight species of wild animals and plants from their own countries, adapting the global theme to suit.
Image Credit: CNN