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Премия рунета 2017

Digital intelligence becomes a threat for poachers

21 march 2018
“Zapovednoye Priamurye" United Directorate of Nature Reserves and National Parks and WWF Russia are ready to introduce a system of surveillance over the protected areas based on innovative technologies. Khekhtsyr Nature Reserve has been chosen as a model site.

One of the main tasks of protected areas is the protection of the territory from human influence, such as hunting, logging or even visiting. This is listed in the PA’s regulations and its purpose: the preservation of valuable natural ecosystems from human impact. It’s not easy to carry out this function: to actually control hundreds of kilometers in remote areas. New technologies and gadgets that can replace a person are here to help.

Zapovednoe Priamurye and WWF Russia Amur branch have proposed the development of a system that completely controls the territory of PAs for the protection function. For this purpose, in March a meeting was held in Khabarovsk for the staff of Zapovednoye  Priamurye with WWF specialists on innovative technologies. A plan was developed for the creation and implementation of a new system in one of the clusters  Khekhtsyr Nature  Reserve.

Information boards pierced by poachers' bullets
Zapovednoye Priamurye
“The need in introduction of such a system is caused by recently increased human press on the Khekhtsyr Nature Reserve which is located close to Khabarovsk city. In 2017, 185 violations were registered there, in 12 cases people tried to hunt. And these are only cases that we managed to reveal. This is quite an indicator for Russia, that makes us think about the need to strengthen protection by implementing modern technical equipment ,” - says Dmitry Grankin, deputy director of Zapovednoye Priamurye.

The new  system consists of a complex of components: TAIGA satellite alarm system (magnetic resistive sensors, photo and video recorders, satellite communication systems), camera traps, video cameras installed on cell towers, UAVs, mobile and web applications to interact with citizens who want to help preserve the nature of the reserve.

“Digital intelligence which is part of the system will be a threat to poachers. It is able to independently analyze all incoming information and send a signal about the violation. The rangers of the reserve will only have to arrive at the site of the violation and detain a poacher,” - comments Andrey Purekhovsky, coordinator of innovative projects at WWF-Russia Amur branch. – We plan to use sensors that react to metal, in places where violations are used to drive by cars and seismic sensors on hiking trails. Moreover, digital intelligence will be able to distinguish violators from wild animals. In addition, the control of the territory will be carried out from above: from space, using satellite imagery, video surveillance from cameras on cell towers, as well as from unmanned aerial vehicles.”
Illegal intruder to the protected area
Zapovednoye Priamurye

The system can also control forest fires. Cameras can identify any smoke on a distance of dozens of kilometers.

“Such a systematic approach will make it possible completely to eliminate violations in the protected area in the next 2-3 years. The implementation of the protection system in Khekhtsyr Nature Reserve is yet in plans. However, in the future it will be implemented with the help of WWF Russia Amur branch. If the experience is successful, neural networks will cover the rest of the national parks and reserves of Khabarovsky province,” notes Petr Osipov, director of WWF Russia Amur branch.
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