A new pilot project that is using technology to help fight back against poaching has launched in South Africa allowing viewers anywhere in the world to assist an all-female ranger unit in the conservation of endangered species.
The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit has teamed up with tech company Samsung as part of the new initiative, Wildlife Watch, to bring live feeds which will be streamed 24/7 from the Balule Nature Reserve in South Africa, part of the Kruger National Park.
All live feeds will be captured using repurposed Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition handsets. The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit will be using a camouflaged jeep fitted with a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE for surveillance patrols, and the live-streamed content will provide a look at their daily experiences.
Four additional handsets have been installed in the bush, in a partnership with African tech company Africam, boosting the reach of the existing infrastructure in the nature reserve, which is home to elephants, lions and giraffes. The handsets are kept charged by solar power and can operate in low light environments allowing for good visibility at night.
The all-female ranger unit – who patrol the area to protect animals like elephants and rhino who are threatened because of poachers wanting to kill them for their tusks and horns – is live streaming their patrols for two months from 3 March and asking for virtual rangers to tell them if they see anything suspicious.
The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit use non-violent methods to prevent poaching, which has surged during the pandemic as illegal hunters take advantage of the sudden fall in tourism.
Everyone is invited to Take the Watch and become a virtual ranger, helping to protect endangered animals from poaching by monitoring them in their natural habitat and enjoy live sightings of these spectacular animals from home.
By becoming a virtual ranger and taking the watch on wildlife-watch.com, viewers can alert rangers if they see animals in danger or signs of poaching, share what they see via snapshots on social media to encourage others to take part and donate to The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit.
Mark Notton, Senior Director Mobile, Samsung Europe, said: “As our lives have become more virtual, the power that technology has to bring people together to do something good and for the benefit of everyone has never been clearer.
“Wildlife Watch is a truly exciting pilot, and by repurposing one of our latest handsets in this way, we hope increased eyes on these incredible animals will not only support existing surveillance and raise awareness but bring pleasure by letting people see and learn more about wildlife from home.”
Samsung says that the digital experience, which is live until 2 May, aims to “bring people’s eyes back to the animals that have been forgotten during the pandemic”.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.