Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a 90,000 acre conservation area in Laikipia County, has opened a new wildlife protection technology lab which will fit rhinos with tracking chips to mainly protect them from poachers. Called the Conservation Tech Lab, it will also research, test, support, and develop new technology-based solutions to conservation-challenges.

The lab is a partnership by Ol Pejeta Conservancy with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Liquid Telecom and Arm, with initial funding coming from The Royal Foundation.

“Technology has the potential to truly transform wildlife conservation across the world as well as Africa, providing a much safer and brighter future for endangered species. The Ol Pejeta Conservation Tech Lab will be a centre of excellence that will demonstrate this potential to the world, showcasing affordable and sophisticated solutions that can have a meaningful and sustained impact on the region’s conservation efforts,” said Ben Roberts, Group CTIO at Liquid Telecom.

Part of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy Conservation Tech Lab.

Saving rhinos

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy does a lot of work around the conservation of rhinos. In 2017 it ran a campaign that involved enrolling the world's last male northern white rhino, Sudan, on Tinder so as to raise awareness about the species' pending extinction and attempt to find it another rhino to mate with. Although Sudan eventually died, the campaign did raise some much needed funds to continue with the work of preserving and conserving rhinos.

Already, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Liquid Telecom have deployed a secure high-speed network to connect devices and sensors throughout the wildlife conservancy, providing visibility and data on the movements and behaviour of animals.

“The technology is now available to protect Africa’s wildlife and ensure we never see another needless loss to the world like the recent death of our last male northern white rhino, Sudan. We hope Ol Pejeta Conservancy will pioneer sustainable and practical technology-assisted wildlife conservation and act as a role model to other conservancies” said William Njoroge, Head of Technology, Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

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