IoT Helps in the Battle Against Wildlife Endangerment

Subscribe To Download This Insight

By Harriet Sumnall | 3Q 2021 | IN-6208

There are almost 40,000 species of animals that are endangered, as reported by the International Union for Con, including the rhinoceros to name just one of the many. Like many problems, technology can help observe these species by enabling the ability to track and monitor these endangered species. Smart Park, founded in 2013, uses innovative techniques to protect endangered species, humans, and the environment.

Registered users can unlock up to five pieces of premium content each month.

Log in or register to unlock this Insight.


National Parks Can be Smart


Smart Parks have technological partnerships with LoRa Alliance and Semtech, which help turn their vision into a reality. LoRa Alliance is committed to enable large scale deployments of Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) and do so by continuingly develop the LoRaWAN open standard. Other partnerships that are under the belt of the conservationists include a variety of organizations who are collectively fighting the same battle such as: African Parks, the World Wildlife Fund, and International Animal Rescue.

IoT has been implemented into many standard markets including smart home and smart cities, however wildlife conservation is one market that IoT is offering a helping hand. The deployment of sensor networks, even in the most rural of areas, is helping those in charge of monitoring species levels and their environments to track and monitor their livelihood.

Imagine a Smart Dog Collar, Only Three Times Bigger


Similar to standard consumer animal tracking, i.e., those of household pets or in an enterprise setting, livestock, IoT enabled tracking collars can be fitted to the wildlife so that park officials are able to monitor their wellbeing and their location. The collars alert officials when heart rates are high or low, indicating that the animal is distressed. The location capabilities then enable officials to be able to know where to go to check out the situation and to ensure that the animal is not harmed. This is not a new concept, as in 2015, South African rhinos were fitted with GPS collars. One of the most significant benefits from these solutions is that general park security can respond to alerts quicker. Prior to the use of these collars and technology, the safety of the animals was completely dependent on human activity alone. Though the benefits were evident, there were several drawbacks to utilizing the collars, including poor battery life, resulting in animals constantly needing to be sedated to be re-fitted with a new collar, and the use of satellite technology, which is a more costly method of connectivity in comparison to LPWAN.

Smart Parks, however, utilize LPWA networks for their deployments, enabling connectivity that utilizes low power consumption. This means that the collars used for this are able to operate for a longer amount of time due to their batteries lasting longer. Whilst the protection of specific species is important, the company also offers a Park Management product which includes water tank monitoring, fuel tank monitoring, and environmental sensing, which are just as important. Offering a product of this sort means not only are those animals within the endangered species lists protected, but others are too, therefore potentially preventing them becoming endangered as well. 

Low Power to Help Save the Endangered


The role of LPWA networks is crucial and the most beneficial network choice for these solutions to be deployed to successfully to achieve the goal of helping to protect endangered wildlife species. This is due to the fact that a lot of these species are based in the most rural areas where cellular network infrastructure is simply not available. Proprietary LPWA networks could also be an option, however it requires that the devices that are used in such projects have to be certified to be able to work within that network.

Though satellite connectivity is often considered the prime connectivity technology to opt for when seeking connectivity in such a rural space, it’s not always the case, as it is ultimately down to the requirements in place for the given task. Tracking animals out in the wild requires the devices to house a long lasting battery due to the fact that many of the large animals can be dangerous for those fitting the collars, and therefore are required to be sedated for the trackers to be placed on the animal, which can be detrimental to their health after an amount of time where this process is to be repeated.



Companies Mentioned