Poaching the Poachers

In the last decade, Africa’s elephant population has declined by around 110,000, primarily due to poaching. The slaughter of African rhinos has also skyrocketed — 1,175 were killed in South Africa in 2015 alone, compared with 13 in 2007. Because poachers operate mostly under the cover of night, this type of crime is hard to tackle. In December 2012, Google awarded WWF a $5 million grant to tackle the poaching crisis through technology, launching the Wildlife Crime Technology Project. They have collaborated with FLIR, a thermal imaging company, to design a new infrared camera capable of detecting human movement at night, and have installed cameras around Kenya’s Maasai Mara Conservancy. Since the program started, local rangers have nabbed over 150 poachers.

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