The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is to implement new anti-poaching technology to help rangers evaluate and improve the effectiveness of law enforcement patrols in the country’s national parks.
The new Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART 1.0) was developed through a partnership of conservation organisations such as CITES-MIKE, the Frankfurt Zoological Society, the North Carolina Zoo, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London.
SMART 1.0, which is free and available to the whole conservation community, is a combination of software, training materials, and implementation standards which provides protected area authorities and community groups with the ability to empower staff, boost motivation, increase efficiency, and promote credible and transparent monitoring of the effectiveness of anti-poaching efforts.
Barney Long, WWF’s Asian Species Expert, said the new tool was crucial as traditional approaches to stopping poaching had failed.
“The launch of SMART could not come at a better time as 177 nations gather in Thailand at the CITES last week to make decisions aimed at stopping the illegal trade of wildlife,” he said.
“This vital tool will help the eco-guards on the frontlines of conservation get out ahead of the poachers and protect the most iconic species on our planet. Without SMART, the poachers will remain more sophisticated, which we cannot let happen.”
Benson Okita-Ouma, KWS Senior Scientist – Rhino Program, said: “We at KWS are eager to implement SMART across our protected areas as we clearly see the huge potential it has in helping our managers better monitor and evaluate law enforcement efforts. The SMART tool and framework will help our staff to make better informed decisions for protecting and managing our rich biodiversity particularly at a time of increasing poaching pressure.”