The Internet of Life and Kerlink saves Black rhinos via sensor implants in horns

Oct 03 2017

The mainstream media mostly talks about the IoT in terms of the latest smart home gadgets and its future in autonomous vehicles. However, there’s more to the IoT technology then the making devices and machines run better and faster.

The Internet of Life organization teamed up with the ShadowView foundation to deploy some IoT solutions to protect the remaining Rhino populations in National Parks in Rwanda and Tanzania.

Calling their solution "Smart Parks" the LoRaWan-based solution will be used for near-real-time monitoring and activity tracking of the Rhino population while also being used to help improve the overall park operations like the tracking of gate open/closures, connected camera traps and vehicle/personnel monitoring.

"The brutal onslaught of poaching of rhino populations across Africa has resulted in fewer than 5,000 black rhinos remaining in the wild, 1,000 of which are the Eastern black rhino subspecies. Smart Parks is a new tool in the battle against poaching."

project leader Tim van Dam
Placing a location tracker inside the horn of a Rhino

Usually, the IoT solutions deployed in open and rugged environments need to have long range and low power connectivity. This is where LoRa’s wireless technology shines in these remote national parks offering 15-30 km range of low-cost and low-power connectivity.

The project deployment was powered by small Kerlink WirnetTMiBT 868 MHz sensors that were directly implanted in the horns of rhinos in the park.

Kerlink's geolocation and solar powered LoRaWAN gateways combined with Semtech's geolocation solver eliminated the need for energy consuming GPS systems, while also offering more security from poachers attempting to hack the animal tracking systems than traditional GPS solutions.

Park Map


You can learn more about the project on their project page or view the overview video embedded below.

More Details


+ A LoRa Network is a type of telecommunication network designed to allow long range communications at a low bit rate among things (connected objects), such as sensors operated on a battery.

+ The Internet of Life also offers sensors and actuators for animal tracking devices. These can be used for Smart Park, wildlife protection, and park management solutions.

+ IoT solutions have been used in park management in the past as well. In 2005, The Kenya Wildlife Service used smart collar technology. The digital collars allowed the park management to track elephant location.

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