Supports management of 4.9 million hectares of protected areas in Botswana, Mozambique, Republic of Congo
The Global Environment Facility Council has approved a $7.2 million project to deploy EarthRanger to support the management of 4.9 million hectares of terrestrial protected areas (PAs) in three African countries. The effort will help enhance real-time prevention and response to escalating threats of poaching, human-wildlife conflicts, and habitat loss.
Since its inception in 2015, EarthRanger has helped PA managers, ecologists, and wildlife biologists make more informed and effective conversation-related decisions. In partnership with many conservation and technology partners, it is a software solution that combines real-time data from ranger patrols, remote imaging, and various sensors to provide monitoring information that helps keep wildlife, habitats, and communities safe.
Funded by a $2.4 million GEF grant and $4.8 million co-financing from partners, the three-and-a-half-year project (July 2022-March 2026) will be implemented in six PAs: Botswana’s Chobe National Park, Mozambique's Limpopo and Zinave National Parks, and the Republic of Congo's Nouabalé-Ndoki, Odzala-Kokoua and Conkouati-Douli National Parks.
The partnership will allow for improved infrastructure such as operations rooms, vehicle and animal tracking devices, and communication networks such as digital radio systems and long-range radio (LoRa). These improvements will increase the effectiveness of conservation technologies to protect critically important ecosystems that are often in areas with very limited connectivity and challenging environments.
“PAs in Africa are experiencing degradation and loss of biodiversity through habitat destruction and unsustainable exploitation of resources. Threats of poaching, human-wildlife conflicts, timber harvesting, agricultural land expansion, and urbanization are intensifying. So are the challenges of invasive species, climate change, and mining developments. EarthRanger is a timely and innovative solution that will aid protected area managers, ecologists and wildlife biologists in making more informed operational decisions for wildlife conservation,” said Claude Gascon, the GEF's Manager of Programs.
The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), EarthRanger’s parent organization, and Conservation International will execute the project in partnership with Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), the Mozambique National Sustainable Development Fund, the Republic of Congo’s Ministry of Tourism and Environment, African Parks, Noé, Peace Parks Foundation, and Wildlife Conservation Society.
"We're proud to be serving a role in the protection of critically important areas for biodiversity across the world. We hope and expect that this partnership with the GEF will help these six parks become some of the most advanced PAs in the world, giving them the infrastructure and capabilities that will make them examples for how technology can assist the women and men on the ground to protect and establish habitats where wildlife can thrive," said Jes Lefcourt, Director of the EarthRanger program at AI2.
“The planet is facing a biodiversity crisis and these regions are home to a vast number of species that are important for the overall health and balance of their respective ecosystems. Innovative tools like EarthRanger will help support the protection efforts already underway in each of these African parks,” said Suzanne Ngo-Eyok, Senior Vice President, Africa from Conservation International.
Protecting wildlife with real-time data
Developed by Vulcan LLC and partners, and now part of AI2, EarthRanger is a data visualization and analysis system giving conservationists the real-time information they need to keep wildlife, habitats, and communities safe. It collects, integrates, and displays remote sensing data and field reports to effectively monitor collared wildlife, rangers, enforcement assets, and infrastructure within PAs. The application of EarthRanger is diverse and varies relative to the primary needs of the area or organization. Among them, the platform is used to monitor vast areas, track and study wildlife, coordinate ranger units, and proactively mitigate human-wildlife conflict.
The EarthRanger program has been in place for over six years and has reduced threats to biodiversity and habitats in 200 PAs across Africa and 50 PAs on other continents. It has facilitated the reintroduction and restoration of diverse species and ecosystems that deliver global environmental and socioeconomic benefits.
This project will promote the uptake of the EarthRanger system in other PAs across Africa through the dissemination of success stories and best practices via the EarthRanger website and other platforms.
About Conservation International
Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships, and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature. Conservation International works in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International's work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube
About The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence
The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) is a non-profit research institute founded in 2014 with the mission of conducting high-impact AI research and engineering in service of the common good. EarthRanger is part of AI2’s efforts to drive fundamental advances in science, medicine, and conservation through AI. Developed by Vulcan Inc. in partnership with many conservation and technology partners, it is a software solution that combines real-time data from ranger patrols, remote imaging, and many various sensors. Both AI2 and Vulcan LLC were founded by the late Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, Paul G. Allen.