Until recently, park managers at Gonarezhou National Park in southeastern Zimbabwe, a sprawling reserve a little larger than the Grand Canyon, used push pins and colored dots on the wall to track poachers–moving the pins when rangers called in with reports of gunshots or footprints, and attempting to track the position of every ranger. “They were trying to run their operation from that physical board,” says Ted Schmitt, principal business development manager for conservation technology at Vulcan , the Seattle-based philanthropic tech company founded by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen ( who died on October 15 ), which partnered with the park to help it move to the company’s digital system, called EarthRanger , in April. [Photo: Vulcan] A single interactive digital map now tracks elephants and other animals wearing collars, photos from camera traps, sensor data from vehicles, reports from rangers and informants, and images from satellites and drones, all in real time. The same system is now in place at 11 wildlife parks in Africa, designed both to help managers respond more quickly to immediate threats by highlighting problems and to analyze data over time so managers can begin to discover new patterns. [Photo: Vulcan] “They all know […]

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