Thanda Safari, a renowned Big Five game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal is proud to announce its partnership with Rouxcel Technology, a leading conservation company specialising in advanced rhino collar technology. Its revolutionary artificial intelligence (AI) driven technology and real-time tracking and monitoring capabilities empower Thanda Safari to augment the safeguarding and wellbeing of its endangered rhino populations.

Previously, Thanda Safari employed various methods including foot collars and horn pods to monitor their black and white rhino populations. However, limitations with these approaches, such as the use of telemetry units requiring line-of-sight, with no direct data recording capabilities or GPS functionality, necessitated a more sophisticated solution.

The newly developed AI-enabled collars continuously observe, analyse, and learn to identify behaviour patterns specific to each rhino. When registering ‘abnormal’ activity related to a possible poaching attempt, fighting, mating, giving birth or illness, the collar triggers an instant alert on ranger’s phones, pinpointing the incident’s precise location via GPS. This cutting-edge technology facilitates rapid response and investigation, enabling effective safeguarding of these majestic creatures.

Commenting on the technology, Mariana Venter, Wildlife Operations Co-Ordinator at Thanda Safari, expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “For security reasons, this system is crucial in helping us catch poachers in the act. Additionally, it generates valuable data for tracking rhino movements, monitoring their health and all-round wellbeing, thereby enabling us to learn more about their habitats and differing home ranges. This is particularly relevant to the elusive Black Rhinos. Favouring thick bush, they are difficult to monitor, and as a result we can experience long periods with infrequent sightings“.

Thanda Safari’s commitment to conservation has long extended to sharing knowledge with other reserves and conservation projects as well as fostering collaboration with the local community. Representatives from various reserves witnessed the installation of the AI-enabled rhino collars, highlighting Thanda Safari’s role as a leader in innovative conservation initiatives. South Africa faces a pressing issue with rhino poaching, with statistics highlighting the urgency of conservation efforts. In 2022 alone South Africa lost 448 rhinos to poaching.

Thanda Safari’s adoption of advanced AI-driven technology represents a significant step forward in combating poaching and preserving these magnificent creatures for future generations.

Words & pics supplied

Read the story in Responsible Taveller digital mag HERE

And about a previous visit to Thanda Safari HERE