Where wildlife and humans coexist and share limited resources Human Wildlife Conflicts (HWCs) have become one of the biggest challenges for conservation across the globe. Mainly Local communities who depend on agriculture and livestock rearing for their livelihood feel impacts from HWC. Wildlife cause damage to crops and predators kill livestock, which often results in the killing of the culprit and endangered wildlife.
Our solution to help mitigate HWC is a low cost, open source and scalable solution. Through the integration of low cost Bluetooth Low Energy beacons into existing and new wildlife tracking collars a low cost android device can act as a receiver for the tags and be installed at strategic positions to protect crops and livestock. On detection of a BLE tag the android device will actuate a (species specific) deterrent stimuli. Stimuli would be randomly selected in order to mitigate habituation. Stimuli examples include African honeybee swarms, drums and metal clanging, Human voices and shouting, visual stimuli such as lights, lasers and human effigies. Early warning would be in the form of automated real time SMS and email alerts to communities and conservationists who can mobilize and mitigate a conflict (existing collars often only ping every 4 hours and HWCs can occur during this time). The solution has been bench tested and works in component parts and using audio stimuli. The system will be open source and android devices can be donated to the project helping to reduce costs and scale the project to several sites. Integration of non-collared wildlife detection into the system will follow.
GSM cellular coverage is available in the communities to facilitate the SMS or Email early warning notifications
Wildlife Collars will be made available for modification in order to add the BLE beacons
Community buy in for community led conservation and protection of the system
We will be able to fund raise or run a campaign for donations of used android smartphones and repurpose them for use within HWC-Guard
Currently tracking collars are limited to providing a GPS location every 4 hours (due to battery life constraints). During this time collared wildlife can cover several KMs and be inside of communities causing a conflict before an updated GPS position is received. The HWC Guard system will address this shortfall by providing a proximity based, real time early warning system and deterrent for collared wildlife and wildlife in close proximity to the collared individual (Elephant herds, Wolf packs Lion prides). Initial sites to implement this project are Upemba and Kundelungu National parks where Elephants are to be collared in May of 2019. BLE tags are to be installed into the new Elephant collars so the Elephants are ready to take part in the trial once the HWC-Guard system is ready. It is expected that the system will be ready for an in country trial by August 2019 and as many of the android HWC Guards will be installed at community sites to offer protection.
Develop waterproof yet ventilated secure housing. Refine and develop the android application. Test the application on a variety of android device and approve specific devices. Field test the system prior to in country trials in Upemba National Park, DRC.
Funding to purchase and refine the housing Funding for the development of the android application (developer also required). Funding to purchase several BLE beacons with a 5 year battery life and shipping to wildlife (Elephant) collar manufacturer in Germany. BETA Testers who can assist with trialing the application on various android devices and provide feedback