Feature Story

Elephant poaching down with Cisco technology

by Stephanie Chan

Elephant poaching down with Cisco technology

See how networking infrastructure and thermal cameras are changing Kafue National Park.

Cisco has long been invested in conserving the planet. As a part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, Cisco aims to positively impact society, people, and the planet. Aligning with the United Nation’s Sustainable Goals, Cisco aims to transform humanitarian aid, teach millions of people IT skills, eliminate hunger, and more.

Now, with its new Sustainable Impact the company is expanding their conservation efforts into the realm of the mighty elephant. Elephants are one of the most sought-after creatures for poaching, primarily for their ivory tusks. Save The Elephants reports that between 2002 and 2011, the world’s forest elephant population was reduced by a whopping 62 percent. Cisco knows there is much more to be done in order to deter poaching.

For its next mission, Cisco partnered with World Wildlife Fund to establish real-time connected surveillance around Lake Itezi-Tezhi in Zambia’s Kafue National Park. As a popular watering hole for elephant herds, poachers often disguise themselves as fisherman and sneak across the lake to target elephants. By setting up four masts and FLIR thermal cameras across the lake, surveillance is connected to a newly built central command center where movements can be monitored, and poachers can be apprehended before approaching the shore from the lake.

Cisco’s networking technology and FLIR’s cameras create a protected perimeter around the lake. Instead of basic lighting or flashlights, FLIR thermal cameras help identify poachers even if they are hiding in grass or water. This real-time information stops poaching, reduces human-elephant conflict, and improves the well-being of local communities.

The project at Kafue has seen tremendous results. Since the technology installation in February 2017, there have been no elephant poaching incidents reported. Before the technology was implemented, the park was seeing reports of one poaching incident every four to five days.

Cisco is no stranger to saving endangered species. The company also works with South African IT company Dimension Data, now a subsidiary of NTT, to reduce the poaching of rhinos through digital infrastructure, hybrid cloud, digital workplace, and cybersecurity to track poachers. Between 2015 and 2018, this partnership has successfully reduced poaching in the Kruger National Park in South Africa by 96 percent.

There is still more work to be done. Check here to learn more about Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts.


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