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Fundraising - connect the rangers that protect

Worldwide, rangers put their lives on the line everyday to save endangered wildlife! 

These brave women and men are patrolling vast and remote areas and often spend multiple contiguous days in the field. Although these rangers are trained, these remote areas are particularly demanding with regards to the coordination of activities. Enabling these rangers to continuously share their location with the control room, where coordination takes place, helps to patrol on a higher tactical level. Even more important, it allows for a more responsive operation and cooperation in case of emergency and danger for the rangers themselves. 

These rangers protect the wildlife species we all love. Taking larger mammals such as elephants and rhinoceros as an animal group at risk of poaching, we set out to help nature reserves and game parks to mitigate this risk and effectively conserve endangered wildlife. A good example that demonstrates the severity of this problem throughout Africa is the following: There were 13 recorded poaching incidents in South African game parks in 2007. This rate shot up to 1004 in 2014. Poaching numbers have declined significantly in recent years but are still way too high. However, this positive – and very welcome – decrease does not mean rhinos are now thriving. On average in the country, a rhino is killed for its horn every 22 hours.

Smart Parks, Irnas and the Rompa Group have developed the RangerEdge tracker as a tool to assist these rangers with this crucial task whilst protecting them in the field. They are the “boots on the ground” that stand between poachers and endangered species like the elephant, eastern black Rhino and European bison. Smart Parks is a non-for profit organisation with the mission to protect wildlife with passion and technology, but it is also essential that we protect and connect the rangers that put their lives on the line. 

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Built for Rangers

The RangerEdge comes with a smartphone App that provides an easy way of interacting with the device. With the App rangers have access to features like GPS settings, network settings, signal scanning and device logs. The App also provides an easy way to update the RangerEdge edge with new firmware. This firmware is under active development and new features are underway. Amongst one of these new features is the possibility to use the RangerEdge as an emergency messaging device, so that in areas with no cellphone coverage the RangerEdge can be used to send and receive messages from the control room. More features can be expected around the built in support for EdgeImpulse, a tool set to implement AI on the RangerEdge device itself.

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Extremely ruggedized yet easy to carry around. Much attention has gone into developing a custom enclosure that allows for long term deployments in challenging environments. The two part injection molded fiberglass reinforced enclosure is designed to be inconspicuous and suitable to be attached in various ways to backpacks, belts collars, cars, animals and various other applications. While very rugged, the enclosure is also fully capable of disassembly, enabling long-term device repair and upgrades. Moreover, when the device has reached its end-of-life, it will allow for recovery of all valuable materials like the battery.

Each produced RangerEdge unit undergoes a fully automated test process, validating correct operation of all hardware features ranging from power consumption wile sending messages, GPS sensitivity and various other aspects. Full traceability is put in place for all components introduced into the system, assembly steps and final testing. This enables not only a robust product to be manufactured, but as well provides detailed feedback for improvements in the next design iterations.

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How it was developed

The RangerEdge is the result of a 2-year development journey and was carried out by a collaboration between Smart Parks, IRNAS and Rompa. The development is also part of the OpenCollar Initiative, making it the most advanced device in its kind to be open source, so to contribute to the global collaborative approach for protecting wildlife and wild places.

The specifications of the RangerEdge
This OpenCollar Tracking System is set up with many different modules that can be combined into several different configurations, making the tracker customisable for each situation. The RangerEdge is a medium sized GPS tracker with LoRaWAN connectivity for various tracking applications. The device features two rechargeable batteries that can achieve over a year of battery life.

– Configuration over Bluetooth with smartphone app
– GPS positioning tracking
– Remotely configurable settings
– LoRaWAN connectivity with integrated antenna
– Integrated temperature sensor for device monitoring
– Integrated device battery monitoring
– Integrated high accuracy accelerometer with motion event detection
– Real-time monitoring with daily status updates
– Long-life device with over a year of battery life under normal conditions
– Rechargeable batteries
– Fully ruggedized device suitable to withstand harsh outdoor conditions
– Simple installation
– Compatible with LoRaWAN networks worldwide

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Help us supporting the rangers!

We have been releasing the first few hundred RangerEdge devices to assist and protect rangers in Namibia, South-Africa and Malawi. In 2022 we will increase our production to provide other protected areas with this new tool and we will continue to update the device firmware and smartphone app with new features. Therefore, to cover the cost to produce an additional 1250 trackers, our goal is to raise 12.5K EUR

We remain open for highly appreciated additional funding, new feature requests and development support to keep this device in the best shape we can.

By making rangers better connected, technology will help to keep them and the wildlife they protect safe

Will you help? You can make your donation via the link below

Thank you for helping to protect the rangers and wildlife!!