Making Rangers patrol SMART
This week, an expert of WWF TAI (Tigers Alive Initiative) is in Thimphu training SMART Data Officers and focal points from the Protected Areas and territorial divisions in Bhutan on the effective use Cyber Tracker Devices and software. The focal points will then train their other field staffs.
The introduction of SMART in some of Bhutan’s Protected Areas through World Wildlife Fund (WWF) support has enabled park offices to curb poaching and allocate scarce resources effectively by identifying areas most at risks.
SMART was piloted in Bhutan’s Royal Manas National Park in November 2013. Considering its effectiveness in addressing the emerging complexities of managing and monitoring poaching and wildlife crime, the tool was adopted at a national level. SMART integrates data from ranger patrols, analyzes local poaching trends and measures progress in law enforcement to help rangers improve their effectiveness.
With its successful test and roll out, WWF is now moving to pilot the next step. The real-time SMART or SMART connect will further help provide real time access to, and integration of, information on locations of poachers, patrols, and key wildlife species. It comes with a mobile application combined with a powerful analysis and mapping interface designed for and customizable by, local users.
SMART Connect is an online operating environment that leverages real-time connectivity with the ability to instantly upload data into the system to greatly enhance response time, functionality, and coordination at national as well as site levels. This development will transform how anti-poaching operations are coordinated and managed, improving the speed and effectiveness of law enforcement’s response to poaching. The ability to detect and respond to threats in real-time will shift the focus from where poaching has happened to where poaching is most likely to happen.
The training was organized by the Wildlife Conservation Division and the Forest Protection Surveillance Unit of the Department of Forests and Park Services with funding from the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environment Conservation and technical support from the WWF.