St. Pete firm creates app that could help protect African elephants

click to enlarge St. Pete firm creates app that could help protect African elephants -
St. Pete firm creates app that could help protect African elephants

A new smartphone app developed in St. Petersburg aims to help deter elephant poachers and ivory traders in Kenya.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Kenya Wildlife Service will use the app, called Fulcrum, to power tenBoma, a collaborative effort that aims to protect Kenya’s elephants from poachers through identifying and dismantling poaching chains. In recent years, poachers have killed over 100,000 elephants.

“The tenBoma initiative is one of the most important internationally-based projects to effectively address the problem of illegal wildlife trade,” said John Konarski of the American Geographical Society.

Fulcrum users can share spreadsheets, photos and videos from different devices—say, a smartphone, and the app also convert paper documents into electronic records quickly.

The tenBoma initiative uses geospatial technology to determine the whereabouts of elephant poachers and ivory smugglers. Fulcrum helps those tracking down poachers find, track and dismantle elephant-poaching networks. Rangers can use the cloud storage device to chart observations on a real-time map that’s circulated among law enforcement.

“Fulcrum is a powerful new weapon being used in the battle to destroy poaching networks,” said Azzedine Downes, IFAW president and CEO.

The app would also save time.

The technology would allow rangers to share evidence of poaching with wildlife authorities before tracked poachers commit their next crime. A crime mapping station gathers these reports, which cuts the amount of time between when someone spots suspected poachers and when authorities pursue them.

“This allows the people out in the field to share that information quickly and efficiently,” said Coleman McCormick, executive vice president of Fulcrum.

Without this technology, information regarding poacher activity must be manually inputted and shared, a system of field work that can cost hours and further endanger elephants in the area.

“The way they used to do it was very manual and very automated,” said R.J. Jacques, Fulcrum’s digital marketing strategist.

The tenBoma operation is two weeks into the second phase of training. Teams are currently trekking Kenya’s grasslands for geospatial tests and field data collection.


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