FLIR @ SxSW: How Thermal Imaging Helps Stop Poachers in Their Tracks

Imagine for a moment you’re a park ranger at the Maasai Mara Park Reserve in southwestern Kenya. You’re on night patrol. You can barely see the end of your nose, let alone your next step. It’s pitch black. Your only protection is a bolt-action rifle and a machete for cutting through dense brush. There are no lights for miles, and your sole focus is locating and stopping anyone who’s in the park without permission. In the back of your mind you know your next step could be your last. Dangerous animals are all around, some footsteps away, hidden under the cover of night. But, if you use your flashlight, your position might be exposed to heavily armed poachers. What do you do?

This was the reality for many of the park rangers in the Mara Conservancy, tasked with protecting over 500 square miles one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth, housing over 95 species of mammals and over 570 recorded species of birds.

Now, thanks to a collaboration between World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and FLIR that began in 2016, Mara rangers have eyes in the dark— donated thermal imaging cameras from FLIR that give them the power to see the unseen, in the dark of night up to three kilometers away.

Not only can rangers protect themselves from the wildness of the bush, they are significantly more effective in making arrests while reducing potentially violent skirmishes between man and beast alike.

On Tuesday, March 13th at South by Southwest (SxSW) in Austin, Texas, FLIR will participate in a social impact panel on its collaboration with WWF and the Mara Conservancy to protect the world’s most endangered species from extinction.

Learn more about the $20 billion global illicit poaching trade, how it’s pushing rhinos and elephants to the brink, and how thermal imaging is fast becoming the critical technology to stopping it all.

The hour-long panel includes conservation and technology experts across the board:

  • Erick Becker, wildlife conservation engineer, WWF
  • Rachel Newer, journalist
  • Jeff Frank, SVP of global product strategy, FLIR
  • Ntayia Lema Langas, warden, Mara Conservancy, Kenya

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Westin Downtown Austin - Ballroom 3

9:30am CT

If you can’t attend, follow along with FLIR via Twitter @FLIR or Instagram @FLIR, and use #FLIRWWF to engage in the online discussion.

For more details, click here.

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