GPS monitoring to stop poaching

Poaching has been a persistent problem in the animal kingdom for centuries. While the dead wild animals used to be treated as trophies by royal families, nowadays they have become targets of greed.

The incessant cases of wildlife poaching have resulted in a sharp decline in mammals such as elephants, rhinos, zebras and gorillas.

Governments around the world are constantly struggling with this threat. The forest authorities have tried cameras and sensors, but with little success. With the rural population involved in the crime, it becomes even more difficult to track down the poachers and rescue the animals.

Countries like India and Africa are rich in biodiversity and are therefore badly affected by poaching. Unicorn rhinos are a popular target for poachers.

According to TRAFFIC, the wildlife trafficking organization, South Africa is home to around 80 percent of the 29,000 rhinos in the world.

Although 2019 is the third year in a row, the number of poached rhinos in South Africa has decreased – from 1,215 in 2014 – and African rhinos remain at high risk from poaching and habitat destruction.

For these reasons, few African rhinos survive outside of protected areas and protected areas.

Organized poaching groups are also using increasingly sophisticated methods to locate and track rhinos, including helicopters, night vision goggles, and high-performance veterinary drugs.

GPS tracking to the rescue

In addition to reducing the demand for rhinoceros horns, conservationists are using proactive and preventive poaching technologies to protect rhinoceros populations across Africa.

With GPS tracking, conservationists can track the movements and location of animals. This helps in rescuing injured or orphaned rhinos due to poaching.

However, wildlife tracking requires a robust, flexible, and most importantly, reliable battery powered GPS tracking solution to provide anti-poaching units and farm managers with more than just life-saving location tracking.

Poaching prevention with Oyster2

Working with Rhino 911, a non-profit that rescues injured or orphaned rhinos from helicopter poaching and other injuries, TG Tracking uses battery-powered GPS and telematics guru Oyster2 to prevent poaching in South Africa.

With industry-leading battery life, a high-precision GPS / GLONASS positioning system, built-in battery life management and a 3-axis accelerometer, TG Tracking began testing the Digital Matter Oyster device in 2017.

Designed for location tracking, behavior monitoring, theft recovery, etc., the Oyster2 is installed or hidden on or in all types of assets – mainly industrial assets such as vehicles, trailers, containers and more.

But when it comes to tracking down rhinos, things get a little more complicated.

Securely securing a GPS device to a rhino

TG Tracking was attached around the Oyster2 and developed a special collar that increases the battery life, the temperature tolerance of the device and the maximum comfort for the animals.

The unique resin pot from TG Tracking houses the Oyster2 and a special SAFT D-Cell battery, which enables longer battery life and extreme temperature tolerance.

The unique 3-layer structure and the light inner fabric of TG Tracking ensure sufficient strength and durability. The soft, rolled edges of the collar also protect the animals from irritation.

Before customizing animals to the custom collars, the Osyter2 is provisioned using a device management platform that carefully determines the frequency of location updates, geofences, accelerometer settings and other tracking parameters.

To protect both the farm managers and the animals themselves, the rhinos are first sedated by helicopters and safely guided into a clear, unobstructed area.

Collars are attached to the rhinoceros’ front legs.

The time of the collar, veterinary information and other information about the animal are recorded and stored in the Telematics Guru. The rhinos are then closely monitored when they move again.

Location tracking

Anti-poaching units monitor the rhino’s locations 24 hours a day. The location data captured by the Oyster2 is also used to understand daily routes and distances traveled, pasture areas and other general behavioral patterns, and to ensure that high-traffic areas are always protected.


Geofencing works alongside location tracking by creating a virtual boundary around certain areas of the park. If animals move beyond these limits, units will be alerted immediately.

By downloading and alerting geo-fences, farmers can be notified when the rhino has moved away from its usual behavioral locations – possibly due to poaching.

Movement and no movement warnings

The Oyster’s 3-axis accelerometer enables intelligent motion-based tracking functions. If the rhino reaches a certain speed for a certain time, a “running alarm” is triggered, which alerts the units to a possible disturbance on the site.

Immobility or rhino warnings are also configured and triggered immediately if the animal has stopped moving for a configurable period of time.

Recovery mode

Recovery mode is available in the Telematics Guru Tracking app, a one-touch button that activates live tracking at 30 second intervals and allows units to follow the rhino trail in real time if injuries or poaching are expected are.

These features make the GPS solution an excellent innovation to ensure that the wild animals live safely and peacefully in their habitats. TG Tracking also tracks leopards and elephants with the numerous devices from Digital Matter.

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