16:38 16 May 2017
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is funding Domain Awareness System (DAS), the biggest tech-focused conservation project to date that aims to bring hyper-connectivity to Africa’s most remote, wildlife-packed corners.
The command-and-control system uses camera traps, satellites, animal tracker tags, and ranger radios that send information to a centralised computer system. This helps in studying movements of endangered animals and in projecting threats in the regions being monitored.
Talking about the project, Allen said: “By nature, I am attracted to tough problems—problems that, by definition, require innovative and dramatic solutions. [The DAS project] is the ideal combination of two of my interests—technology and the preservation of [the savannah elephant,] one of Africa’s most iconic species.”
DAS was first put in the wild in October 2016 and the technology was deployed at the Lewa Conservancy, a 55,000-acre preserve in Kenya, Odzala National Park, and six other African conservation sites in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Save the Elephants, and African Parks Network. However, the project’s most prominent partner is Singita, a network of luxury safari lodges run by conversation guru Luke Bailes.