Combating Poaching in Kenya with Advanced Technology

  • DATE / TIME:
    2013•02•19    14:30 - 16:00

    “Using High Resolution Satellite Imagery, Mathematical Modelling and UAVs to Combat Poaching in Kenya

    The poaching of rhinos, elephants and other animals in Africa has reached epidemic proportions. Current efforts to combat this activity are not working; new paradigms are required.

    A team of individuals from the University of Maryland, GeoEye Foundation, GeoAnalytics Group at the GeoEye Corporation, UN University, Lusaka Agreement Task Force, and African Wildlife Foundation proposes to employ advanced technologies to level the playing field against the poachers. The team uses 0.5 metre high-resolution satellite imagery as a foundation for its work, then overlays the imagery with variables such as previous poaching incidents, weather data, animal movement patterns, phases of the moon, roads and other relevant data. Using mathematical modeling initially developed to track IED bombers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the team looks to identify patterns of poaching behaviour.

    The results from the analysis will suggest where and when poaching events, in a given area, are most likely to occur.

    This data will be employed to create a flight pattern for small drones equipped with FLIR real-time cameras to “patrol” the specific areas that are most susceptible to poaching. The rangers will be in contact with a command centre that receives the imagery from the drone. This will allow them to be precisely placed to stop the poachers.

    By superimposing the data derived from the algorithms over the high-resolution satellite imagery, the team can create a picture of where rangers should be deployed to intercept a potential poacher before they can reach an animal.

    In this UNU-IAS seminar, Prof. Thomas Snitch (University of Maryland) will demonstrate the use of this technology with a case study of the Ngulia Rhino Reserve at Tsavo National Park in Kenya.

    For more information, or to register to attend, see the event announcement on the UNU-IAS website.

    About the speaker

    Dr. Thomas Snitch is Senior Advisor for Global Issues at Geoeye and Chief Scientist at Little Falls Labs. On 1 September 2012, he was named Chairman of the Board of Visitors at the College of Computing, Mathematical and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland. He is responsible for satellite imagery sharing efforts between the US, through Geoeye, and nations in Asia and Africa.


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