We believe animals should roam free 

Together with Cisco and the Connected Conservation Foundation, we use IoT to track illegal human behavior, keeping animals safe and free. The Connected Conservation Foundation's vision is to eliminate poaching in Africa through continued innovation in intelligent technology. Sabi Sand game reserve in South Africa, adjacent to the Kruger National Park, harnessed the power of technology to dramatically reduce rhino poaching. Then, in 2019, Connected Conservation expanded into other parts of Africa, including Zambia and Kenya.

Why Connected Conservation makes sense 

Sabi Sand, a game reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park wanted more effective means to prevent rhino poaching and, thereby, conserve the rhino for future generations. We harnessed the power of technology to protect the rhino by tracking the movement of people.

South Africa is home to 80% of the world’s remaining rhinos. With populations decimated by poaching, there’s a real chance the rhino could be extinct by 2025. A private game reserve took the lead in finding a technology-based way to deter poachers.

Every day, hundreds of staff, suppliers, contractors, security personnel and tourists enter and exit the reserve. Being in such a remote location, activity wasn’t monitored. Only basic technology infrastructure and access control, manual security processes, and very limited communication existed.

An end-to-end solution was introduced, proactively stopping people entering the reserve illegally. If an incursion took place, the solution triggered an alarm in the control center. An alert with exact coordinates for the incursion was sent to armed rangers’ mobile devices, who patrol both on the ground and in a helicopter.

NTT's engineers have since developed wildlife detection algorithms and a pipeline to process satellite imagery and deliver results, so that field teams can review outputs.

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Which services?

Technical Services, Managed Services, Cloud Services 

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Which technologies?

A secure park area network,  data collection and analysis via CCTV/biometric scanning, Wi-Fi and local area networks at each entrance, LORA technology throughout the reserve, seismic sensors and/or magnetic sensors on the reserve periphery. Coupling Airbus' Pleiades Neo satellite imagery with NTT’s AI-powered solution, teams can now identify wildlife hotspots and map species’ movements and connectivity of their changing territories across borders. 

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Which partners?

Cisco, Dimension Data, Airbus, Microsoft 

"The solutions is capable of protecting many endangered species, including elephants, lions and pangolins in Africa, tigers in India and Asia, and turtles by the ocean."
Doc Watson , Founder of the Connected Conservation Foundation 

How focusing on people protects wildlife

Partnering with Cisco, we architected a solution connecting multiple types of technology. It tracked the movement of people, identifying those with dubious intent, helping pre-empt harm to the animals.

The innovative application of multiple technologies dramatically reduced the number of incursions. These technologies included, IT infrastructure, Managed Services, data analytics, multiscreen communication, secure network and data flow, a point-to-point reserve network, CCTV cameras, and biometric scanning.

Preventing incursions is possible only if you are able to observe the boundaries of the reserve comprehensively. This was achieved using a point-to-point reserve area network (RAN), creating a high-security perimeter "net". CCTV cameras and biometric scanning extended the reserve’s IT infrastructure into remote areas.  

Wi-Fi and local area networks at each gate allowed communication between security personnel and game rangers both on the ground, and in the air. Connectivity to the national database of poaching suspects and backing up of reserve generated data to a secure cloud service-enabled real-time data analysis.  

What connected conservation technology achieves

Innovative application of IT infrastructure, Managed Services, data analytics, multiscreen communication, secure network and data flow, a point to point reserve network, CCTV cameras, and biometric scanning helped conservation management teams reduce incursions into the reserve by 96% in the first 18 months of our pilot project

Before the Connected Conservation pilot project was implemented in 2016, the nature reserve lost rhinos to poaching at a rate of one per week.  

The Connected Conservation Foundation's solution nullified the risk. It provided real-time intelligence to enable preventative action against poachers. 

Poaching in the reserve dropped by 96% in its first year. And, in 2017 and 2018, there were zero rhinos poaches. 

In 2020, stemming from this success, the nonprofit Connected Conservation Foundation (CCF) was born. CCF enables increased collaboration and support from more partners to scale up technology for conservation impacts.

With recent expansions into new parks and reserves across Africa, the aim is to bring together national and private park management, sharing info and tactics to safeguard more species across various terrains.

Together, we’re equipping dedicated conservation teams with effective tools to aid nature’s recovery and halt wildlife decline.

Our impact:

  • Together, we’re helping safeguard 5,000,000 hectares of wild ecosystems, home to the black and white rhino. With our partners, we've supported the Connected Conservation Foundation in installing Reserve Area Networks across Sabi Sand Nature Reserve, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Great Fish River Nature Reserve and six new conservancies with Northern Rangelands Trust.
  • This year alone, 12 poaching incursions into Sabi Sand Nature Reserve have been thwarted with the help of connected conservation solutions. If each incursion potentially equals a rhino's death, that's at least 12 rhinos saved from harm.
  • High-res wildlife monitoring PTZ cameras are delivering live stream videos from five remote watering holes to monitor rhino health for the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). Dimension Data Kenya (part of NTT) helped install and connect these live streams, providing live video footage of rhinos visiting watering holes in Sera Wildlife Conservancy. This enables rangers to make quicker rhino health and weight observations, better informing their decision-making on food and water interventions during unprecedented, challenging times. Due to successful wildlife recovery and conservation efforts run by the Sera community, the population of black rhinos is recovering here. In 2015, ten rhinos were reintroduced into the conservancy, and within six years, the number doubled to twenty. Thanks to the determination and efforts of the community, rangers and partners, no poaching has been reported.
  • Only 43% of rangers worldwide have access to a communications device on patrol. Thanks to NTT and Cisco, the Connected Conservation Foundation has equipped over 100 rangers across partner conservancies, with connectivity and communication devices. These allow rangers to communicate with their control room at all times, so they can request help and give an immediate warning of potentially harmful activity to rhinos or themselves.