The technology fighting poachers

Poachers continue to push endangered species towards extinction – but with the support of groundbreaking tech, the Zambezi authorities are fighting back. The Kafue National Park, located 200 kilometres west of the its capital Lusaka, with an area of 22,000 km2, is the largest park in Zambia. However, despite its multifariousness of natural resources, the national park is more and more under threat due poaching, illegal fishing around Lake Itezhi-Tezhi and uncontrolled bush fires. According to the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, it is estimated that between 4.000 and 6.000 poachers are operating in Kafue National Park, endangering fauna and flora. In the last few years, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Zambia undertook a project called Kafue National Park Connected Conservation (KNP CCP) – a project that integrates the internet and cutting-edge computing with a virtual fence of networked thermal imaging cameras across the key trafficking routes of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi. For this reason, leading technology companies such as CISCO, FLIR, and SMART Parks came together to provide vital communications and surveillance hardware and software aiming to protect the population of elephants and to control the activity of illegal fishermen and poachers’ hotspots in the Kafue National Park, also optimizing the coordination of patrol teams thanks to the enhanced control room operators, resulting in improved safety of scouts and rangers during patrols. Established with the support of Game Rangers International (GRI), the Wildlife’s Marine Anti-Poaching Unit is born, specializing in daily patrolling of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, in order to control illegal fishing and prevent poachers entering Kafue National Park from the lake, carrying out activity day and night, impounding boats and arresting fishermen who operate in areas or schedule prohibited by law. (Text by Luca Catalano Gonzaga).

 

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Witness Image is a non profit organization founded by Luca Catalano Gonzaga, which combines photography and journalism.

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