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Tracking Poachers using GPS/SMS

Low-Cost SMS Driven Location Tracking System for Anti-Poaching Investigations

Throughout the world, poaching has been an ever-present threat to a vast array of species for over many decades. Traditional anti-poaching initiatives target on catching the poachers. However, the challenge is far more complicated than catching individual poachers. Poaching is an industry which needs to be fully investigated. There are many stakeholders, directly and indirectly, involved in poaching activities (e.g., some local restaurants illegally providing meat to tourists). Therefore, to stop or severely decapitate the poaching industry requires a unified understanding of all stakeholders. The best ways to uncover these geographical and social relationships is to track the movements of poachers. However, location tracking is challenging in most of the rural areas where typical wildlife sanctuaries are located in. Internet-connected communication (e.g. 3G)technologies typically used in urban cities are not feasible in these rural areas. Therefore, we decided to develop an SMS (short message service) base low-cost tracking system (SMS-TRACKER) to track poachers. We evaluated the proposed system in Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sabah, Malaysia and nearby villages where poachers are typically moving around. First, we evaluated the performance of the proposed system through a series of tests in controlled environments. Secondly, we conducted in-the-wild experiments in Malaysia. Both evaluations demonstrated that SMS based tracking provides sufficiently quality data that enable us to poacher vehicle movements within rural areas where no other modern communication technologies are feasible to use.



EPSRC (ECR Capital Award)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is a British Research Council that provides government funding for grants to undertake research and postgraduate degrees in engineering and the physical sciences, mainly to universities in the United Kingdom.

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is the only Welsh member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities.

Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is part of the UK’s official development assistance (ODA). Its aim is to support cutting-edge research and innovation that addresses the global issues affecting developing countries.


Danau Girang Field Centre

Danau Girang is a collaborative research and training facility managed by Sabah Wildlife Department and Cardiff University.


Technical Report
Jack Burkett, Benoit Goossens, Pablo Orozco Ter Wengel, Omer Rana, Charith Perera, Low-Cost SMS Driven Location Tracking Platform Towards Anti-Poaching Efforts, Technical Report, 2020