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Africa Wildlife Tracking uses Orbcomm satellite tech for conservation efforts

Headquartered in South Africa, AWT is utilising Orbcomm satellite modems to provide secure, near real-time GPS tracking and monitoring of large animals.

Mobile network provider company Orbcomm has announced that Africa Wildlife Tracking (AWT) is using its advanced satellite IoT technology to track and monitor animals of all sizes to support their conservation efforts.

With the added threat of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to supply local populations with food, poaching is likely to increase, making Orbcomm’s IoT solutions important in helping AWT protect endangered wildlife.

Headquartered in South Africa, AWT is utilising Orbcomm satellite modems to provide secure, near real-time GPS tracking and monitoring of large animals such as elephants in some of the world’s most remote regions and densest forests.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) transmitters on smaller animals such as wild dogs and cheetahs communicate with the Orbcomm devices on the elephants’ collars and transmit data to AWT’s proprietary software applications.

The Orbcomm modem’s small size and low-power consumption transceivers have resulted in improved longevity and performance in the battery-powered elephant collars.

By having access to near-real-time data, researchers, conservationists and game reserves can extrapolate and analyse the information, deliver insights into animal behaviour and gain visibility into situations when animals are under threat of poaching through alarms, tamper detection and geofence alerts.

Orbcomm’s satellite connectivity is critical to enabling AWT to track and monitor animals in their natural habitats. Orbcomm’s IoT devices can withstand complex environments, extreme weather conditions and tough terrain, which is often dusty, muddy and covered with dense forests. In addition, Orbcomm’s devices are highly reliable in the field, which is extremely important given the extensive costs, resources and logistics involved in putting tags and collars on the animals AWT tracks.

Commenting on the partnership, Marc Eisenberg, Chief Executive Officer of Orbcomm said: “We are pleased to partner with AWT to support their important mission of protecting endangered wildlife and their natural environments across several continents. Orbcomm’s global satellite coverage offers a unique advantage for AWT by ensuring reliable, secure and cost-effective communications in some of the most isolated areas of the world and delivering valuable animal data and alerts that help them stay one step ahead of poachers.”

Martin Haupt, Founder of Africa Wildlife Tracking remarked: “AWT’s emphasis is on anti-poaching, especially in the current environment, so we need a reliable unit that will report regularly, and Orbcomm offers an ideal solution. Orbcomm’s sophisticated IoT technology is key in making the collection and verification of the data a lot easier and driving valuable results. ORBCOMM’s units are smaller and power-efficient; the data travels by satellite, and there’s more live information than ever before.”