When people think of Africa’s challenges, issues such as hunger, corruption and urban crime probably pop up. However, one of the continent’s most urgent problems is often overlooked. Its name is poaching.
Zambia, where one of our team members has done previous work, claims the second-largest yet under-visited wildlife paradise of Africa: Kafue National Park. Several decades ago, this area was home of the greatest population of the rhinoceros on Earth. Today, none are left. Now poachers have slaughtered each of the double-horned mammals, they have turned their attention to the elephant. With a multi-billion dollar ivory market alluring from Asia, the wildlife war is not cooling down any time soon.
Due to the size of the Kafue National Park and the lack of accessibility of areas within, current heroic anti-poaching units are unable to take notice of the killers. Conventional ways to protect the animals do not seem to work anymore. New, creative methods of detecting poachers are needed. Unfortunately, recent attempts to use technology for anti-poaching have proven expensive and inconvenient.
That’s where Hack The Planet comes in. We plan to develop a new, cost-effective method to detect poachers in the park. With support from our network in Africa, we want to set a step towards a poaching-free world.
The project plan was among the final 20 startups at the Philips Innovation Award (the largest student entrepreneurship award in The Netherlands) where we won the Public’s Choice Award, and among the final 12 plans at Erasmus University’s I WILL award.