NEW TOOL TO FIGHT WILDLIFE CRIME UNVEILED

12 September 2012 | News story

JEJU, REPUBLIC OF KOREA, 12 SEPTEMBER, 2012 – SMART, the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool, the design and implementation of which is supported by SOS, was unveiled at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. SMART is a high-tech tool created to help park and community rangers combat an increasingly sophisticated syndicate of poachers devastating wildlife populations worldwide.  

Developed by global conservation organizations in close collaboration with protected area authorities and other key stakeholders, SMART’s open-source, non-proprietary software and training materials extend and simplify existing technologies for monitoring efforts to tackle poaching and other illegal activities. This software represents a major step forward for improved site-based conservation by identifying poaching hotspots, improving rapid response measures and calculating the impact of anti-poaching efforts to maximize results. In many countries where conservation is greatly under-funded, it will enable governments to assess the most effective law enforcement options.

Jean-Christophe Vié, Director of SOS said: "All members of the SOS partnership, along with other donors, decided unanimously to fund this effort for two reasons: first a consortium of the largest conservation organizations are behind it and, second, given that poachers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques, we absolutely need to provide the best possible tools and use the latest technology to those people fighting everyday to preserve wildlife around the world. We call on other donors to join us in supporting SMART, and countries and conservation groups to adopt it."

The partnership intends to make the SMART software and training materials available free of charge to all in the conservation community – http://www.smartconservationsoftware.org/

"This new system will ensure rangers in the field have the best training and most sophisticated tools they need to patrol wild places threatened by well-armed and well-funded criminals illegally killing off wildlife across the globe," said Dr. David Wilkie, Director of Conservation Support for the Wildlife Conservation Society. "We need to provide our rangers with the smartest technology to effectively stop the high level of poaching now killing off tigers, elephants, gorillas, rhinoceros, turtles and other endangered species."

The SMART Consortium is made up of entities that all share missions to conserve biodiversity, protect endangered species and reconcile the needs of people and nature in a way that ensures the continued prosperity of both. It includes Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), CITES-MIKE, Frankfurt Zoological Society, North Carolina Zoo and Zoological Society of London.

"SMART is a tool that has tremendous potential to tackle wildlife crime, and while we are excited about this potential, we recognize that the right people—rangers, local law enforcement and governments—need to be in the driving seat,” said Dr. Barney Long, manager of Asian species conservation at World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Some of the specific functions of SMART include: providing timely and accurate information on where, how and by whom poaching, illegal logging and other direct threats to biodiversity are occurring through the collection of field and intelligence data; enables rapid feedback and communication between protected area managers and frontline enforcement staff; measures the impact of anti-poaching efforts in order to judge which tactics yield the best results; and provides information to government agencies to assess cost-effectiveness of law enforcement efforts. SMART is open-source, nonproprietary and free to obtain.