Powerful tool to fight wildlife crime unveiled

Sep 11, 2012
SMART, the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool, a free high-tech tool to combat the wildlife poaching crisis, was offered to grassroots rangers by a consortium of conservation organizations at the World Conservation Congress. Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society

A free high-tech tool to combat the wildlife poaching crisis was offered to grassroots rangers by a consortium of conservation organizations at the World Conservation Congress.

SMART, the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool, is designed to help park and community rangers fight by identifying poaching hotspots, improving rapid response measures and calculating the impact of anti-poaching efforts in order to maximize results. In many under-funded countries, it will enable governments to assess the most effective law enforcement options.

The open-source, non-proprietary software system was developed in close collaboration with protected area authorities and other key stakeholders to improve on the ground. It extends and simplifies existing technologies for monitoring efforts to tackle poaching and other illegal activities and can be translated into .

The consortium of conservation organizations is committed to train rangers and work with national governments to scale-up their responses to crime. Rangers will be trained on how to use SMART. Equipped with GPS devices, they will be part of a global network of support.

"This new system will ensure rangers in the field have the best training and most sophisticated tools they need to patrol wild places threatened by well-armed and well-funded criminals illegally killing off wildlife across the globe," said Dr. David Wilkie, Director of Conservation Support for the . "We need to provide our rangers with the smartest technology to effectively stop the high level of poaching now killing off tigers, elephants, , rhinoceros, turtles and other endangered species."

"SMART is a tool that has tremendous potential to tackle , and while we are excited about this potential, we recognize that the right people—rangers, local law enforcement and governments—need to be in the driving seat," said Dr. Barney Long, manager of Asian species conservation at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "The success of SMART depends on support from grassroots to the global community and WWF stands ready to help."

Jean-Christophe Vié, Director of SOS - Save Our Species said: "All members of the SOS partnership, along with other donors, decided unanimously to fund this effort for two reasons: first a consortium of the largest conservation organizations are behind it and, second, given that poachers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques, we absolutely need to provide the best possible tools and use the latest technology to those people fighting everyday to preserve wildlife around the world. We call on other donors to join us in supporting SMART, and countries and conservation groups to adopt it."

Some of the specific functions of SMART include: provides timely and accurate information on where, how and by whom poaching, illegal logging and other direct threats to biodiversity are occurring through the collection of field and intelligence data; enables rapid feedback and communication between protected area managers and frontline enforcement staff; measures the impact of anti-poaching efforts in order to judge which tactics yield the best results; and provides information to government agencies to assess cost-effectiveness of law enforcement efforts.

SMART is open-source, nonproprietary and free to obtain.

Explore further: Seeds keep vital much longer when stored without oxygen

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Jumbo-sized discovery made in Malaysia

Jan 14, 2009

New data released today by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Malaysia's Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) reveals that a population of endangered Asian elephants living in a Malaysian park ...

Organized crime is wiping out wildlife

Jul 27, 2011

A paper by noted WCS conservationist Elizabeth Bennett says that an immense, increasingly sophisticated illegal trade in wildlife parts conducted by organized crime, coupled with antiquated enforcement methods, ...

Nepal expands critical tiger habitat

Oct 27, 2009

The Government of Nepal announced today an expansion of Bardia National Park in the Terai Arc Landscape by 900 sq km, which will increase critical habitat for tigers.

Recommended for you

Seeds keep vital much longer when stored without oxygen

35 minutes ago

If seed breeding companies, gene banks and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on Spitsbergen should store plant seeds under oxygen-poor conditions, it would be possible to store them for much longer while still ...

Native species may be hindering fox control efforts

37 minutes ago

Native species interfering with ground distributed baits used to control red foxes in south west Western Australia may mean the baits are not available to the target species, a Murdoch University study has ...

Giant anteaters kill two hunters in Brazil

Jul 26, 2014

Giant anteaters in Brazil have killed two hunters in separate incidents, raising concerns about the animals' loss of habitat and the growing risk of dangerous encounters with people, researchers said.

Study indicates large raptors in Africa used for bushmeat

Jul 24, 2014

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates ...

User comments : 0