Protect is a UK based not for profit charity that has developed a sophisticated video cam and transmitter that can be embedded into a rhino’s horn. If the sensors detect a rhino is in distress, then a signal is sent to alert rangers, plus the embedded cam will broadcast live video, capturing any poachers in the act.
Steve Piper, a director of Protect, elaborates (20 July 2015);
“Proof of concept research has already been completed and our South African team are now preparing to fine tune prototypes in the field, we expect to have the first rhino prototypes out within months and are just beginning development on versions for tigers and elephants. We hope to have a fully functional control centre established early next year. The figures make it painfully clear; there is no time to waste, the tide has to be turned and the Protect RAPID can do it; the only thing heading for extinction over the next decade is poaching itself.”
Furthermore, Protect has also teamed up with the Humane Society International (HSI). The HSI is working with the government of Viet Nam on a education and outreach programme to try and reduce the demand for rhino horn. Claire Bass, executive director of HSI UK, comments;
“Reducing market demand is critical to safeguard wildlife long term, but it needs to be coupled with urgent, effective action to stop the current poaching crisis. The Protect RAPID could be a game changer in the increasingly desperate fight against poaching, and the technology has the potential to be applied to other critically endangered species including tigers and elephants. We are excited to have this opportunity to fund the project and hope other backers will join us to get the technology into the field as quickly as possible.”
Let’s hope Protect and HSI with their welcome work, can make a difference (and soon).