WSIS Prizes Contest 2019 Nominee

A less intrusive rhinos conservation, a hope for endangered species


Give a voice to endangered species.

Description

A lot of solutions have been deployed to help endangered species. But looking closely to these devices (collars, tags) all are very intrusive, very expensive and consume a lot of energy. It’s not adapted to wildlife which needs as little human or technical intervention as possible.

The Sigfox Foundation, using the Sigfox network, has imagined a new tracking solution, to help rangers to better monitor a population of wild rhinos in Africa.

The Foundation has rolled out the Sigfox frugal network (low energy, low cost, long-range radio signals): three base stations fully working in autonomy, covering a 4000km2 conservancy area.

Partnering with a group of rhinos conservationists, we prototyped a small tracker giving three GPS signals per day, directly installed in the horn of around 20 black and white rhinos. It allows collection of extremely valuable data on the location and movements of the animals in a very simple way.

This prototyped device is much less intrusive, barely more than an inch but having a battery autonomy of several years, and estimated at around 50 dollars per unit. The next step is to produce more sensors at lowest price to equip a maximum of rhinos and contribute to their survival. For this, Sigfox Foundation is currently working with an industrial manufacturer to develop an industrial version of the prototype.

Once the industrialized version is finalized, we aim at making it open source so that it can be used by any people who need it for environment protection purposes. This allows amplification of the impact globally. It also fosters innovation and the use of emergent, simple and affordable technologies to tackle global causes.

In addition to the tracking, our Foundation is aiming to do park monitoring, using other types of sensors to warn local rangers of possible intrusions. We are also exploring solutions that can help reduce the wildlife-communities conflict by providing tools to communities living nearby the conservancy areas to better manage their resources.

Project website

https://sigfoxfoundation.org/now-rhinos-speak/


Images

Action lines related to this project
  • AL C2. Information and communication infrastructure
  • AL C7. E-environment 2019
Sustainable development goals related to this project
  • Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
  • Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Goal 15: Life on land
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

Coverage
  • Africa

Status

Completed

Start date

2016

End date

2018


Target beneficiary group(s)
  • Remote and rural communities
  • Conservationists of endangered species and local communities

Replicability

This project is replicable because the Sigfox network is low cost, easy to install even in a wild environment, and is consuming very low resources. There are similar needs everywhere in the world to monitor endangered species, their habitats and conservancies areas. Once the industrialized version of the prototype is ready, conservancies can equip as many animals as they need to.

We have already started replicating this project in another African country and we plan to also do it in two more African countries.

Besides, other NGOs like WWF contacted the Foundation and we recently went on site to meet one of them and understand their challenges to see how technology could address the identified pain points. We are in the process of preparing a feasibility studies for an upcoming PoC, preliminary to a roll out in various locations in Asia.

Sigfox Foundation has also been identified by the conservation community, and more recently by the Jane Goodhall Institute and USAID, the American Agency for International Development.


Sustainability

This project is sustainable because we have already gained 2 years’ experience with the pilot we started with our partners in Africa. We know the solution is viable and working on the long run. Also, the Sigfox equipment enabling the routing of the messages to the end user is robust while consuming very little energy. The device used only wakes up when it needs to emit a message, and the antenna captures the messages as and when it is emitted. The network is not using any energy outside of these exchanges.


WSIS values promotion

The project “Now Rhinos Speak” specifically illustrates the shared responsibility we take as we believe the species threatened by extinction are part of a common heritage that we need to protect altogether. Enabling conservationists to monitor rhinos in real time every day is a game changer for the conservation community and gives them the information they need to undertake the actions to protect the animals and fight against extinction. Sigfox Foundation is supported by the Sigfox wider ecosystem of devices and solution makers. We have made a call for contribution to the Internet of things ecosystem to collect devices that can help providing valuable insight when it comes to localizing assets (the people looking after the endangered animals, the vehicles to go on the site, the radios…) to ensure the quickest response to a threat and contributing to poaching dissuasion The other World Forum Information Society value we are in line with is the Respect for nature. The rhinos and endangered species more generally are part of a global ecosystem and habitat that need to be protected to be sustainable for the specie reproduction on the long term. We are striving to achieve our mission using Information Communication Technologies as we are convinced that connecting the physical world to the internet is the leading way to provide valuable and vital data. Finally, through our action, we are contributing fighting against animal body parts trafficking thereby fighting against parallel and unlawful economy.


Entity name

Sigfox Foundation

Entity country—type

France Private Sector

Entity website

https://sigfoxfoundation.org/

Partners

Sigfox, Eutelsat, Lowveld Rhino Trust (LRT), The International Rhino Foundation, Save the Rhino International