We have all seen the sad stories of elephants and rhinos being killed by poachers. The population of the critically endangered black rhino decreased from approximately 10,000 to around 2,500 in 1995. However the good news is that some people are quietly fighting back, providing safe sanctuary for some of the world’s most endangered animals. It is because of this effort and new technology that the Black Rhino population is slowly gaining more ground; a recent population count reaching an approximate 5,500. In Africa’s Mkomazi National Park, on the Tanzania / Kenyan border, an African company continues to confront poachers head-on with technology provided by Australian Company, JVA Technologies.
JVA has been a leader in the electronics area for electric fences for many years now, with quite a few international firsts and patents to prove it. One of these patented technologies is for an electric fence monitor, which is being used on the fences in Mkomazi. This device monitors the power in the fence using advanced signal processing, and is sensitive enough to detect a fault at over 10km away from the monitoring point. This is important, as the distances that these fences cover is quite vast. Signals from four solar fence stations dotted around the fence line of the park are relayed back to the central station where rangers can respond to an issue. JVA also provides the network gateways and PC based software which allows a map of the park to be displayed with overlays of the electrified fences which are able show problems in real time.
Paul Thompson, JVA’s director, said "We never get tired of hearing about stories of where our products are being used and where they worked well. But, it is an extra special buzz when you hear about projects like this. I have been lucky enough to be able to see some of these animals up close in Africa and the feeling is amazing. How anyone could want to kill them is beyond me."
Thompson also pays credit to the staff from JVA based in South Africa and Kenya. "We make this high-tech gear, but it is another thing altogether to install it in these remote locations. My hat really goes off to them."
Monitored electric fencing technology, whilst providing the rhinos with protection from poachers, can also be used on the average Aussie farm. Similar monitored electric systems (customised by JVA for each individual farmer’s needs) can be used to affordably protect sheep, cattle and other livestock from predators/pests.
For more information on the Mkomazi reserve, please visit: www.mkomazi.info/Mammals/index.htm