4 December 2012

Africa: World Wildlife Fund to Push Frontier of Conservation With Google Global Impact Award

Video taken from a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle test flight in Nepal. A major grant given to WWF from Google will be put toward employing similar technology in Africa to help protect elephants and rhinos from poachers.

press release

Washington, DC, Dec. 4, 2012 — World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today received a major grant from Google to use state-of-the-art technology to help protect endangered species like elephants, rhinos and tigers from poachers and wildlife traffickers.

The $5 million Global Impact Award grant from Google will be used by WWF to adapt and implement the use of integrated specialized sensors, wildlife tagging technology and remote aerial survey systems. This will be coupled with cost-effective ranger patrolling guided by analytical software, to increase the detection and deterrence of poaching.

"With this grant, we can create an umbrella of technology to protect wildlife from global crime syndicates," said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund. "It's all about new surveillance tools and patrol systems to stem what has become an explosion in poaching.  Otherwise, we could see the end of species like rhinos and elephants in the wild."

Wildlife trafficking, estimated to be worth $7-10 billion annually, is emptying forests, landscapes and oceans. This criminal industry devastates endangered species, damages ecosystems and threatens local livelihoods and regional security. The Global Impact Award will enable WWF to test advanced but easily-replicable technologies in key African and Asian landscapes.

WWF received the grant as part of Google's new Global Impact Awards program, which provides support to organizations using technology and innovative approaches to address some of the toughest human challenges.

WWF and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, launched a campaign to elevate the global response to wildlife crime through better enforcement, stronger penalties and international cooperation against wildlife trafficking.

"Poaching of wildlife is a global problem that requires innovative technology and scalable solutions. WWF's international campaign will work to combat increasingly sophisticated threats to some of the world's most endangered species," said Jacquelline Fuller, director of Giving at Google.

"We face an unprecedented poaching crisis. Killings are way up. We need solutions that are as sophisticated as the threats we face. This pushes the envelope in the fight against wildlife crime," Roberts added.

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