Smart Elephant Protection Assam, India

In November 2017, ShadowView was announced as the winner of the first Human Wildlife Tech Challenge! We were awarded with an amount of $35,000 to field test our proposal in India in 2018.

The challenge

WWF and WILDLABS initiated the challenge in July 2017, calling on technology developers, engineers, designers and nature lovers to find a new way to help minimize conflict between people and wildlife. As people continue to move into natural habitats, conflict can occur over the damage caused by wildlife to livestock and property. In India alone, 1,200 people lost their lives in clashes with wildlife between 2014 and 2017. In return, hundreds of animals have been killed in defense or retaliation.

Our solution

Our winning application was chosen from 47 innovative ideas from 14 countries to help solve the increasing confrontations between people and wildlife such as tigers, polar bears and elephants. An international panel of human wildlife conflict and technology experts assessed the feasibility of the proposals.

Our proposed solution for the HWC Tech Challenge concerns human-elephant conflict in North Bank Landscape, Assam, India. To cover the human-elephant conflict area, we will set up the minimum required LoRa® infrastructure, including the installation of LoRa® Gateways along the borders of Sonitpur District. In addition, we will place several low power, solar-powered base stations on the roofs of homes which are close to recurring human-elephant conflict points and require little maintenance. Once we have established a stable LoRa® network, we deploy a number of sensors among which fence sensors, movement sensors and wildlife trackers. The fence sensors measure power leaks in the electric fences and the movement sensors and wildlife trackers will allow us to detect animal presence. All collected data will be presented in a user-friendly web application. This will allow the forest patrolling team to access a map of the area, with all sensor data presented in a clear and accessible way. This information can be used to monitor the elephants in the area and to plan and direct the team’s operations (Situational Awareness).

In addition to the sensors, we will also place numerous alarms within the LoRa® infrastructure. When the sensors detect elephant presence within a certain distance of the fence or the houses, the alarms will activate a buzzer flashlight and warn the villagers. We can place alarms in some of the homes of the villagers or trigger an SMS-alert which is sent out collectively.

Competition judge panelist Mohanraj from India is enthusiastic about the possibilities of our proposal in the field: “LoRaWAN™ based network technology is the future. It will enable us to integrate various systems monitoring species movement, voltage on fences and other important variables. Europe and especially the Netherlands are frontrunners in this technology and I’m very excited to see this applied in elephant conservation in India.

“The application of this technology will help to improve the monitoring of all kind of variables that are relevant to reduce conflicts between people and wildlife. The LoRaWan network technology, connected to several sensors placed in the field, enables us to create a network of communication tools to alert people when elephants are approaching or when electric fences are not working properly. This will save lives of both people and wildlife!”
Femke Hilderink, WWF Netherlands