Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge

Photo Credit: USAID
The Challenge Blog

Spotlight: The Zoological Society of London is creating an alarm system for wildlife

Prize Winner Instant Detect is fighting wildlife crime

Welcome to an installment of our Spotlight series, highlighting our Prize Winners working to combat wildlife crime around the globe. Find out about all our Prize Winners here, and check back in on Mondays for a new Spotlight post.

Criminal networks that traffic in guns, drugs and people also engage in wildlife trafficking, which is the illegal poaching, transit, trade and sale of wildlife, to fund their activities, generating billions of dollars each year for transnational organized criminal networks. These criminal networks are often far more powerful and have access to more resources than the small law enforcement teams tasked with protecting wildlife. Particularly challenging is covering vast, remote areas on land and at sea. “Our solution is really for underfunded, under-resourced, unfenced protected areas,” explains Sophie Maxwell, conservation technology lead at the Zoological Society of London.

This technology, called Instant Detect, is a multi-sensor alarm system used to discover  poachers and illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing, and can cover everything from “a small bird’s nest … [to] a coral reef or even a full-scale rhino sanctuary,” says Maxwell. Instant Detect’s hidden camera traps and ground sensors can detect both people and vehicles and then relay an alert via satellite back to law enforcement teams who can respond in real-time. Acoustic sensors are used in marine areas.

Thus far, Instant Detect has been deployed in Africa, Australia, and even Antarctica. The team is working on Instant Detect version 2.0, making necessary updates to the system and adding new, user-friendly features. The team’s objective is to deploy and scale this technology, which is already making a difference in the fight against wildlife crime, to additional field sites.

All of our Prize Winners, including the Zoological Society of London, are looking for partners, organizations, individuals, and funding agencies that can help them scale their solutions. If you would like more information, get in touch at info@wildlifecrimetech.org.

Find out about the Challenge’s talented Prize Winners and their game-changing innovations to fight wildlife crime here.



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