Sigfox Foundation has developed a tracking solution combining GPS and Sigfox low powered IoT connectivity to monitor Rhinos in the wild
10 animals have been equipped for six months with low-powered connected sensors
Barcelona, February 28, 2017 – SIGFOX Foundation announces today, at Mobile World Congress 2017, a 6-month experiment for a new rhinoceros tracking system. Involved in the conservation of the endangered species, the Sigfox Foundation is partnering with three of the largest international organisations dedicated to rhinos conservation.
According to Save the Rhino, an international organisation supporting endangered rhinos, there are only 29,000 animals left in the world, compared to 70,000 only 50 years ago. Rhinos could become extinct in just over 10 years’ time if poaching continues at current rates. The Sigfox Foundation, which uses connected sensors to save lives, has partnered with conservationists to better monitor rhinos, by having exact locations with a secured and long term tracking system on the Sigfox network, and therefore better protect the animals.
« Now Rhinos Speak »
The first phase of the experiment, called “Now Rhinos Speak”, took place from July 2016 to February 2017, on a conservation area protecting 450 wild rhinoceroses in Southern Africa.
The operations, jointly carried out by the Sigfox Foundation and Lowveld Rhino Trust, first deployed the infrastructure to enable Sigfox’s Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) network across the nature reserve in just four days. Three Sigfox antennas and base stations have been deployed, now covering the area. Christophe Fourtet, co-founder and scientifc director of Sigfox, has been personaly involved in the field operation, with the help of four volunteer technicians.
The Sigfox Foundation, closely partnering with the conservationists of Lowveld Rhino Trust, have also prototyped a GPS tracker. Implanted in the horn of 10 black and white rhinos, this prototype is now securely sending 3 GPS signals per day via the Sigfox network, on a dedicated secured platform also developed internally by Sigfox Foundation. EUTELSAT has provided pro bono satellite connectivity.
The battery life of the prototype low-powered sensor is estimated between 1 and 3 years.
Raoul du Toit, Director of Lowveld Rhino Trust said: “Sigfox devices allow automated downloading of GPS positions at specified intervals without the need for constant human effort, unlike VHF radiotracking that requires a person to listen to a radio signal, and a directional antenna to follow physically the signal and determine the position of the rhinoceros”.
“By only transmitting a few GPS positions every day, we drastically simplify the tracking and monitoring of endangered wildlife. We now give a voice to rhinoceroses, everyday, wherever they are. It is a big hope to better understand endangered species, so to protect them”, added Marion Moreau, head of the Sigfox Foundation.
Now Rhinos Speak, next step
Next operations have been planned in the conservation reserve, to equip a larger number of wild rhinos with new devices. The next step of this initiative is to develop a new generation of IoT long-life wireless sensors.
“Our goal is to help to produce 29,000 connected sensors to monitor all the living rhinos around the world. We are already collaborating with French animal tracking company, Argos, who are piioneering these devices. We are looking for donors to support the production of very low-cost sensors, able to last several years in full autonomy”, said Marion Moreau.
About the Sigfox Foundation
Sigfox Foundation is aiming to address global causes with connected sensors, bringing the Sigfox network to vulnerable populations in the world. Sigfox Foundation, founded in 2015, is based in Paris, and is represented in San Francisco.
About Lowveld Rhino Trust (Africa)
The Lowveld Rhino Trust (LRT) is a conservation organization operating in the South-East Africa. LRT works to increase both black and white rhino numbers and range in the Lowveld region. LRT also works to raise community awareness and support for rhino conservation through rural schools. Over 140 rural primary schools are part of this program.
About INTERNATIONAL RHINO FOUNDATION (USA)
The International Rhino Foundation is dedicated to the survival of the world’s rhino species through conservation and research. At the heart of IRF’s vision is the belief that these magnificent species should endure for future generations, and that protecting rhinos ensures that many other species that share their habitat also survive, including people.
Throughout its 25-year history, the International Rhino Foundation has supported and managed rhino conservation projects in Africa and Asia. Our core values — hard work, partnership, passion, and optimism — are at the heart of everything we do.
About SAVE THE RHINO (UK)
Save the Rhino International’s mission is to collaborate with partners to support endangered rhinos in Africa and Asia. Save the Rhino does this by the following strategies:
- Raising funds to protect and increase rhino numbers and population distribution in African and Asian range states
- Facilitating the exchange of technical support and information between rhino conservation stakeholders
- Ensuring that local communities in key rhino areas benefit from employment, capacity building, education, outreach and the sustainable use of natural resources
- Developing and delivering behaviour-change campaigns to reduce the demand for rhino horn in consumer countries
- Raising awareness throughout the world of the need for and importance of rhino conservation