Smart Savannahs is a new Swedish based nonprofit organisation, with Björn Persson as chairman. The initiative started in 2014 as a research project supported by Linköping University, with the aim of using state of the art technology and community work to fight poaching and trafficking of wild animals in Kenya. In recent years, more and more rhinos and elephants have fallen victim to poachers. But it’s not only the animals that are being killed. More than 1000 rangers have lost their lives in the fight to procect Africa’s wildlife. The main explanation is lack of safe and effective monitoring.
Africa is over 30 million square kilometers in size. More than a third of the entire continent consists of savannah, with unique populations of fauna. A simple calculation shows quite immediately how impossible the task is to protect all the land from intrusion and poaching. The areas are too wide, the profits for the perpetrators too large, the salaries for the guards too low and the availability of staff too deficient. Solutions are needed, preferably of an innovative and future-oriented kind.
To meet these daunting challenges, Smart Savannahs develops cost effective technology and innovation to be deployed in wildlife sanctuaries and national parks as part of a holistic wildlife security and monitoring solution. Our “tech-for-conservation” initiative aims to develop and deploy technology such as digital assistance for rangers and intelligent sensor networks, to assist in animal conservation across wide areas.
But wildlife protection alone is not enough to stop wildlife crimes. Although our primary focus is techonology, Smart Savannahs preventive work rests on a second pillar; “education-for-conservation”. Studies have concluded that the economically marginalized people are involved in wildlife crime as they have least opportunities for livelihood alternatives. By being actively involved in local school projects and community work, we also aim to prevent future wildlife crimes through education and awareness.