UTRECHT (28 January 2021) – Over the course of the last six months, Dutch technology enterprise Smart Parks has provided the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) with new technology to monitor the animals and assets on CCF’s 67,000-hectare private reserve, model farm and Field Research and Conservation Centre in Otjiwarongo, Namibia. The world’s first “Cheetah Smart Park” will help CCF manage the more than 40 permanent resident cheetahs that call CCF their home. With the Smart Parks LoRaWAN-network in place, CCF can easily deploy collars and other sensors in the landscape and receive near real-time location updates at an affordable cost.
“We are very excited to have this new technology to help CCF staff keep an eye on our cheetahs”, said Dr Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director. “With the pandemic, we have had to exist with fewer resources, so getting the Smart Parks LoraWAN-network installed during this time is an advancement that we very much appreciate”.
The LoRaWAN network for CCF by Smart Parks will enable CCF to deploy battery powered sensors and devices across its entire wildlife reserve for real-time monitoring and fine-scale data collection. This will allow CCF staff to optimize efficiency in operations within the landscape they manage, and the network will enable CCF scientists to collect data for research in new, more efficient ways.
Because of travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Smart Parks executed the project in conjunction with a Namibian technology partner – another first. While Smart Parks engineers created the high-end technology solution in the Netherlands, Namibian electronics and technology company, Teltech, performed the installment remotely under the direction of the Dutch engineers.
CCF’s Cheetah Curator Eli Walker supervised the design and installation of the Cheetah Smart Park on behalf of CCF. Walker’s understanding of cheetah ecology helped the engineers maximize the potential benefits from the Smart Parks LoRaWAN network, and his knowledge of CCF’s animals and landscape helped make the remote installation a success.
Luuk Eikelboom, Smart Parks Namibia coordinator said, “Working with local technology partners in Africa sheds a new light on Smart Parks working model. Going forward, this allows us to scale the solution, provide more wildlife protection and simultaneously boost the economy by providing local employment. We’re excited to say that we’ve been able to turn the coronavirus setbacks into something positive for wildlife and the local economy.”
About Smart Parks
Smart Parks is a Dutch social enterprise based in Utrecht. A Smart Park is a nature reserve that uses smart sensor technology to collect information for the improvement of nature protection and management. This may include information about movement patterns of humans and animals, but also other issues such as rainfall and temperature. Sending this data goes via a LoRaWAN network among other things; a Long Range, Low Power Internet of Things connection, with which simple data packets can be sent. Due to the low energy consumption of this network, sensors can be developed with a long battery life. This makes their use very suitable for monitoring animals, people and other assets in nature reserves. Smart Parks has now realized projects in the Netherlands, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi, Rwanda, Kenya, Zambia, Namibia and India. www.smartparks.org
Cheetah Conservation Fund
Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Founded in 1990, CCF is an international non-profit organisation headquartered in Namibia with a field base in Somaliland. CCF is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, making it the longest running and most successful cheetah conservation organisation.
Cheetah Conservation Fund: Susan Yannetti, firstname.lastname@example.org or +12027167756
Smart Parks: Laurens de Groot, email@example.com or +31 642 29 97 27