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Cisco and Dimension Data combine to save the Rhino

We have long admired the work and innovation of Cisco. Our friends at Cisco however have possibly surpassed even our expectations.  

Cisco is to partner with Dimension Data to combat rhino poaching. 

Sarah Eccleston, director Enterprise Networking for UK and Ireland:  “If we save just one rhino, or prevent just one more baby elephant from becoming an orphan when its mother is shot for her ivory tusks, it will have all been worthwhile.”   

Tragically there are only about 25,000 rhinos left in the wild, with the majority in South Africa. It is estimated that about 1,000 are killed each year, primarily for their horn. The technology currently being trailed will track vehicles and people entering the reserve rather than animals.

Dimension Data are a South African based company who harnesses the transformative power of technology to help organisations achieve great things in the digital era. Partnering with Cisco, they have created a first of a kind technology solution, deploying some of the world’s most sophisticated technology in an unnamed private game reserve adjacent to the world-renowned Kruger National Park to monitor and track individuals from the time they enter the reserve gates, until they exit.

In phase one, Dimension Data worked closely with Cisco to gather information from the game rangers, security personnel, technology, and control centre teams. The first step was to create a secure Reserve Area Network (RAN) and install Wi-Fi hotspots around key points, which is completed.

Phase two of the Connected Conservation project will incorporate CCTV, drones with infrared cameras; thermal imaging, vehicle tracking sensors, as well as seismic sensors on a highly secure intelligent network. Dimension Data has also deployed the Reserve Area Network (RAN) using Cisco technology, which will be one of the first installations of its kind in the world.

Bruce Watson, Dimension Data’s Group Executive – Cisco Alliance said, “The goal of our end-to-end technology solution is to proactively intervene and stop people entering the reserve illegally - whether it’s cutting fences, being dropped onto the ground by helicopters, or simply driving in through the entrance gates. Over time, the solution will be replicated in other reserves in South Africa, Africa, and globally to not only protect rhino, but conserve other endangered species such as elephants, lions, pangolin, tigers in India and Asia, and even sea rays in the ocean.

Chris Dedicoat, executive vice president of Worldwide Sales for Cisco said: “We’re extremely proud to be a partner in the Connected Conservation efforts. Cisco and Dimension Data have applied their innovation to transformational cutting-edge technologies and have leveraged our synergies in the latest network, security, data centre, collaborative workspaces and hybrid cloud solutions. We hope the number of rhino will once again thrive in this protected game reserve.”

One of the key advantages of the new system is that it is non-invasive, said Dimension Data executive Bruce Watson.

"We don't touch the animals by darting them with tranquilisers to insert sensors into their horns, or insert a chip under their skin. This can be extremely stressful and risky for the animal and we've seen a number of rhinos either dying, or going blind, and having to be euthanised."

For Dr Paul Glover-Kapfer, it has been a welcome addition in the fight for animal preservation. Speaking to the BBC he said that technology was "an increasing factor" in WWF's global work.

"The system outlined by Cisco and Data Dimensions, whilst not a panacea, is a welcome addition on this front."

This is indeed welcome news and the new keeps getting better! Over time, the technology will be replicated in other reserves in South Africa, Africa, and globally, to not only protect rhino, but conserve other endangered species including elephants, lions, pangolin, tigers in India and Asia, and even sea rays in the ocean. 

Our congratulations go to all the team at Cisco and Dimension Data. We look ford to hearing and learning more about this exciting initiative.      

Until next time

About James Boyce

James is one of the founder's and a Director of Comms Express, and has been in the Networking Industry for 10 years.