“Today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. The large house in which we live demands that we transform this world-wide neighborhood into a world – wide brotherhood. Together we must learn to live as brothers or together we will be forced to perish as fools."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Humanitarian aid and conservation projects span the globe in 2016, arising from long term armed conflicts, sudden epidemics, natural disasters, poaching, human-wildlife conflicts, pollution and more.
The world’s large, charismatic species are under attack: elephants, rhinos, gorillas, and tigers are slaughtered by the thousands as crime syndicates seek to satisfy international markets, leading to increased use of sophisticated tactics and weaponry by poaching gangs. This militarization of wildlife crime, paralleled by increased threats to defenseless communities, has overwhelmed conservation and law enforcement agencies.
In an effort to keep pace, agencies have adopted technology for conservation or humanitarian purposes without proper advice on security and defense strategies. Many companies have pushed expensive technology onto conservation projects without considering their suitability. Failure to plan for and select appropriate tech solutions has resulted in disappointing experiences, distrust, and wasted resources (monetary, time, and lives).
Unfortunately, for all their hard work, dedication, and good intentions many in the animal conservation and humanitarian movement have too often fallen prey to the understandable but ineffective instinct to just go ahead and do something, anything, logic be damned. It's a grab-and-try dynamic, a band-aid mindset that can no longer be indulged.
The adoption of the right method in the right place is critical: rather than introduce any single piece of technology into the field merely for the sake of using technology, an overall tactical strategy will enable each institution to properly select, test, and deploy the most appropriate systems and methods for the area of concern.
CHALLENGES & THREATS
When we attempt to introduce technology to any challenge and it fails to provide the expected results we tend to blame the solution itself, while it has no fault on its own. In most cases, the selection process is to blame when the inappropriate system is brought to the inappropriate site, conditions or needs.
Why did systems fail us so far ?
Modern methods and technology, such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems (ISR), can be adapted and used in humanitarian and conservation efforts to produce long-term proactive effects. The goal is not to introduce specific technology, such as drones into the field merely for the sake of using technology.
How can systems help ?
Even if we forego all wildlife in some delusional existence, we clearly must act to protect our ecosystem – efficiently cleanup what is already here, methodically prevent what we can, and swiftly resolve any event that may occur.
Technology can help us throughout these missions.
Environmental protection and pollution
As human populations expand and natural habitats shrink, people and animals are increasingly coming into conflict over living space and food. From birds at airports, to grazing battles, elephants destroying crops in Africa, orangutans damaging Palm oil plantations, wolves and bears killing livestock in Europe, or baboons and lions killing cattle.