Smart Satellites To Stop Poaching

Smart Satellites To Stop Poaching

In the past three years alone, over 100,000 African elephants have been killed for their tusks. If this rate of slaughter continues, the species will be extinct in less than 20 years.

A new report by the Enough Project, the Satellite Sentinel Project, African Parks, and DigitalGlobe details how cutting edge technology, including satellite imagery and predictive analytics, can be a game-changer for park rangers working to halt the poaching of elephants for ivory in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

The report documents advanced geospatial analysis and remote monitoring via a constellation of five high-resolution earth imaging satellites. 

DigitalGlobe technology combines advanced geospatial analysis with high-resolution satellite imagery to identify geospatial patterns, key terrain/bottleneck locations, likely entrance and exit routes, and ranger patrol patterns. This reduced the search area by 95% to just 107 square km, just 2% of the Garamba National Park.

Pattern analysis is used to statistically compare past poaching activity with a variety of geographic data layers to develop a profile of what poaching locations look like. These data layers include elevation and land use, proximity to population centers and ranger stations, and road and waterway access. By identifying locations in the four primary poaching zones that match the same characteristics, areas of high likelihood for future poaching can be identified.

A similar approach to that being used in Garamba could be replicated for a larger effort by governments, African civil society organizations, international bodies, conservation groups to track and prevent all kinds of illegal activities and atrocities.

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