Ricochet News

VIDEO: Vodacom, Celcom sponsor Addo with technology to help fight rhino poaching

By Marc Jacobson - Jul 14, 2017
VIDEO: Vodacom, Celcom sponsor Addo with technology to help fight rhino poaching

The scourge of rhino poaching remains problematic in South Africa. To help combat this challenge, Vodacom and Celcom have now thrown their weight behind the fight against anti-rhino poaching operations by introducing an innovative security measure for the Addo Elephant National Park.

This includes the provision of mobile devices that have been programmed with a Cmore application software to help protect the Park from poachers.

Celcom, the distributor of robust CAT cell phones in South Africa, has with this backdrop, sponsored eight heavy-duty cell phones to the cause at the Vodacom Acres Office Park on Thursday afternoon, with Vodacom providing starter packs over an initial two-year period.

The smart-phones will enable real-time tracking of rangers out in the field which is crucial in the safety and security environment. The application also allows rangers to enter information such as poaching incidents, poacher sightings, carcass locations or logging a patrol.

Addo Elephant National Park Conservation Manager, John Adendorff says: “In the Addo scenario, ranger teams need the ability to detect events, follow forces in the field, collaborate between one another and receive rapid feedback.

“We all know rhino poaching is a major issue in South Africa right now, and unfortunately because it’s been happening every day, it has watered down terribly, and in the last three weeks, there’s been over 40 rhino killed in South Africa.”

Adendorff then stated that this software will give them (park rangers) an extra lifeline out on the field, and every ranger patrol and vehicle deployed, will have this unit of technology to collaborate between their teams.

“The Cmore software, with its cell phone and with its high definition GPS tracking on-board, will be given to our rangers as they get deployed on a daily basis, and they will be able to monitor what they see, and what we will get back, is life-time information.”

“We can see what they [rangers] are seeing out there, we can see what their threats are and we can see what their concerns are, and that will allow us to make managerial decisions and deploy accordingly.”

"The Cmore enabled cell-phones will be issued per two-man patrol and will be switched on automatically to monitor the rangers’ positions, who are able to plot any incidents they come across in the field on the system. If needed, additional forces can be deployed immediately, effectively and precisely through GPS co-ordinates.”

Adding to that, the Cmore technology also helps rangers record carcasses and potential threats, then this in-turn live-feeds to an operations room, where it can be visibly seen where a ranger instantaneously reports such clue lines.

“We can then interrogate what that is all about, we have digital radio systems and a lot of these systems can be pushed to talk as well, so we can interface, and through the cell phone, we can talk to the ranger on the ground as well, so at the end of the day, it gives us a much quicker response time,” Adendorff added.

The application was developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and is an innovative technology tool that is based on modern web and mobile technology.

In essence, Cmore is a comprehensive portal which allows for in-depth search and visualisation of all Cmore related devices such as tracking, incidents, positions of interest and resources.

“We need to cut down on this insurgence of poaching, and as a message to the public, we want society to know that when they step into Addo Elephant Park, our rangers will be on top of our game and we will always know of your whereabouts,” Adendorff expressed.

“When there is, for example, a suspect vehicle, we will put it into the Cmore software package and every ranger on the ground will have that source of information at his disposal, where in the past we couldn’t do that.”  

Celcom Sales Executive of Eastern and Western Cape, Chris Schoultz, also extended his gratitude for sponsoring the Addo rangers with such technology as a good investment.

“We appreciate what you guys [rangers] are doing and we can see how much you actually do, and for rangers to go out all day or night and be on standby most of the time, they need a rugged handset device, and I’m very happy to come on-board to sponsor you guys with this and maybe in the future we can sponsor more innovations to come,” Schoultz said.

Vodacom Eastern Region, Executive Head: CBU Sales and Marketing, Travis Goate says: “In keeping with our commitment to ensure that we use our technology to change lives, this partnership with Celcom and Addo Elephant National Park is a perfect demonstration of the transformative power of technology.”

Watch to see what else was said at the cell phone handover, as well as the talk on not only the importance of personnel rangers, but dog rangers too, with ‘Bullet’ the ranger dog in attendance.