After a whirlwind trip to South Africa, where we met with several private game reserve owners and rangers to discuss the state of the poaching crisis in Africa, we're now back and with our first goal. To raise $5,000 to purchase boots, night vision cameras, flak jackets and camel packs for the rangers. These courageous men work long, dangerous hours, hiking over the worst terrain just to keep a visual on the endangered rhino and elephants, lions and cheetah that live on their property. They do it willingly and without complaint, but what lifted their spirits visibly was our sharing with them how much the rest of the world supports what they are doing, and cares for them! How exciting it will be if we are successful in our raise and we present them with a gift from the other side of the world!
If you'd like to know more about these brave men, and join the crowd back home helping us provide some basic comforts, here's our @GoFundMe campaign: http://bit.ly/2gfyGh6 (we're currently trending so it's a good time to join us!) We'd love to send these items to them for Christmas or the New Year, we've another 4 weeks on the campaign so it will be tight, but if not, then it'll be a great gift to welcome the New Year!
While in South Africa, we were DELIGHTED to be invited to an unveiling of a new technology by techno giants @DimensionData and @CiscoSystems who together have created a comprehensive solution to poaching they are calling, "Connected Conservation." CC includes CCTV biometric scanning, sensors, cameras, thermal imaging, drones and even a helicopter standing by - not to mention trained dogs and a squad of rangers armed and ready to be deployed at the first signs of any poachers! What's most unique about their solution is that it's pro-active, not reactive. Using all of the tech available to them to apprehend the poachers, emphasis is on catching the suspects BEFORE the act, and not after when the animal is dead and the horn/tusks are gone.
It's to be used as a multi-pronged effort in conjunction with several initiatives currently in place that are known to work, such as trained dogs to sniff out weapons hidden in vehicles and monitors that keep a visual on game reserve perimeters. We were extremely impressed with the demonstration that had actually captured and arrested two poachers earlier that morning.
For more on our trip, here's an accounting of the day we were invited to go out on FOOT patrol with the rangers from the Zulu community @Nambiti, tracking rhino.