Project Details

African elephant


Real-time anti-poaching intelligence device

By Protect

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @weareprotect

Organisation URL:

  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Data
  • Geolocation
  • Physical Computing

The poaching of wild animals in South Africa continues to be a serious problem that demands a solution. A rhino will be poached somewhere in the country in the next seven hours – in the whole of Africa in the next six – and the scale of the area means that response to and even discovery of an act of poaching is often impossible.

A non-profit conservation organisation, Protect, is seeking to combat the increasing threat to South Africa’s wildlife (rhino poaching alone has increased 9,300% since 2007) with the application of sensor, GPS and camera technology. Currently there is little deterrent to poachers, and the highly visible and capable connected device will provide the means to deploy anti-poaching forces to the scene of the crime.

RAPID (Real-time Anti-Poaching Intelligence Device) is a collar worn by a rhino that broadcasts information on heartbeat and location 24/7 to a Protect control centre. The system works by tracking the animal’s heartbeat: when it rises or falls, a signal is sent to an operator. The centre then activates the Protect RAPID camera, and sees exactly why the change has occurred. If there appears to be a risk of poaching activity, a rapid reaction force receives the GPS location and can arrive on the spot within minutes.

Protect is supported by Humane Society International, and the RAPID device has been successful in proof of concept stages. The technology is due to expand in scope from rhinos to other threatened species, and Protect is looking for support in their fight against poaching through donations on their homepage. Their regularly updated Twitter feed is another great way to help spread the word.

Image 'African Elephant, Uganda' courtesy of Rod Waddington.

Last updated: 23rd of August, 2015

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