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Technology lab focused on wildlife protection opens in Kenya

Technology lab focused on wildlife protection opens in Kenya

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In partnership with Fauna & Floral International (FFI), Liquid Telecom and Arm, and supported with initial funds from The Royal Foundation, OI Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya has opened a Conservation Tech Lab to research, test support and develop new technology-based solutions to conservation challenges around the world.

It is hoped that the facility will help accelerate learning and embrace accessible, scalable conservation solutions, which will improve biodiversity conservation and human well-being, locally and globally.

The lab will deliver technological solutions and services that support biodiversity conservation and community welfare and it is hoped will serve as a model for global conservation efforts. Another objective is to provide an international field laboratory for the development and testing of conservation-relevant technological solutions that will enable collaboration, learning and knowledge exchange in order to stimulate innovation and scale impact.

The Conservation Tech Lab is already helping Ol Pejeta in the advancement of remote sensing using the Internet of Things, monitoring cattle movements using Sigfox, a Low Power Wide Area Network technology provided by Liquid Telecom. This technology will soon be adapted to rhino tracking on Ol Pejeta, which will make a significant difference to their security and data collection.

Sigfox technology allows for longer battery life than older radio collars or GSM solutions, thus enabling much smaller devices that are less intrusive to animals. Tapping into the latest advancements in data science, Internet of Things, and Big Data Analytics, the Ol Pejeta Conservation Tech Lab will also support real-time monitoring of all animals throughout the conservancy and the wider landscape, helping to both protect endangered species from poachers and improve overall wildlife management.

For example, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Liquid Telecom have deployed a secure high-speed network to connect devices and sensors throughout the wildlife conservancy, providing visibility and data on the movements and behaviour of animals.

“This is a critical and exciting time for conservation globally and we have only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible when it comes to applying technology to wildlife protection,” said Joanna Elliott, Senior Director of Conservation Partnerships at Fauna & Flora International.

“As the world’s first technology hub dedicated to wildlife conservation, the Ol Pejeta Conservation Technology Lab will play a central role in building technology-enabled responses that can keep pace with the growing threats to global biodiversity.”

Ben Roberts, Group CTIO at Liquid Telecom, added: “Technology has the potential to truly transform wildlife conservation across the world as well as Africa, providing a much safer and brighter future for endangered species. The Ol Pejeta Conservation Tech Lab will be a centre of excellence that will demonstrate this potential to the world, showcasing affordable and sophisticated solutions that can have a meaningful and sustained impact on the region’s conservation efforts.”

Being based on a leading wildlife conservancy, the Ol Pejeta Conservation Tech Lab can quickly ascertain the effectiveness of new solutions, and how best to adapt them to create a bigger impact within the relevant demographic areas. It can also combine cutting edge technology with cost-effective and straight-forward solutions to ensure we have significant impact on the challenges facing conservation.

“The technology is now available to protect Africa’s wildlife and ensure we never see another needless loss to the world like the recent death of our last male northern white rhino, Sudan,” said William Njoroge, Head of Technology, Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

“We hope Ol Pejeta Conservancy will pioneer sustainable and practical technology-assisted wildlife conservation and act as a role model to other conservancies.”

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