Safeguarding their black and white rhino populations has always been a top priority for the KZN-based Big Five game reserve, Thanda Safari … and they’ve now called on artificial intelligence (AI) to help them step up their game.
Their recent partnership with Rouxcel Technology, a conservation company specialising in advanced rhino collar technology, is giving them access to revolutionary artificial intelligence-driven technology.
Here’s what you need to know:
- How does it work?
These cuttin-edge collars continuously observe, analyse, and learn to identify behaviour patterns specific to each rhino. When registering ‘abnormal’ activity such as a possible poaching attempt, fighting, mating, giving birth or illness, the collar triggers an instant alert on the ranger’s phones, pinpointing the incident’s precise location via GPS.
- Why is it better than traditional methods such as foot collars and horn pods?
Those methods did not have direct data recording capabilities, nor could they provide the same GPS functionality. In 2022 alone, 448 rhinos were lost to poaching in SA.
The AI system is crucial in catching poachers in the act, thanks to more accurate information on the location of the rhino.
- What is the rhino data used for?
The valuable data tracks rhino movements, monitors their health and all-round wellbeing, thereby enabling us to learn more about their habitats and differing home ranges. This is particularly relevant to the elusive Black Rhinos. Favouring thick bush, they are difficult to monitor, and as a result often go unseen for long periods.