In Africa, Conservationists Turn to Advanced Technologies in the War Against Poaching

January 31st, 2013 | by Mera McGrew

On Jan. 15, 2012, the Kenya Revenue Authority intercepted a 20-foot container holding more than two tons of ivory. Officials estimated that the contraband teeth, worth around $1.15 million, came from a shocking 250 elephants.

Unfortunately, this was no isolated incident; it was just another of the illegal harvests of African elephants and rhinos that have been on a dramatic rise due to heightened demand since 2005 despite a ban on the ivory trade that dates back to 1989.

“The price of ivory and rhino horn continues to rise by the day, leading to increased poaching of elephants and rhinos,” said William Kiprono, director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), during a January press conference.

A KWS report released earlier this month found that Kenyan authorities knew of 384 elephants and 29 rhinos killed by poachers in 2012 compared to 289 elephants and 25 rhinos killed in 2011. Across Africa, reports suggest that more than 1,000 elephants and 1,000 rhinos were killed last year alone.
As these numbers make clear, conservation groups and government authorities have been losing the war against the taking of wildlife by poachers. But now, they hope to reverse their fortune—or at least stop the slaughter from increasing—with a little help from modern technology. Txchnologist takes a look at some of the major tools being explored and deployed on the ground in Africa:

Read more: In Africa, Conservationists Turn to Advanced Technologies in the War Against Poaching.

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