16-03-2020 by Leni Frau
It is called "Anisan" and is a small technological innovation that comes from Kenya and will help people in rural Kenya to avoid assaults on their fields and huts by elephants escaping from the country's parks and national reserves.
But at the same time it will also help the Kenya Wildlife Service to intervene and bring animals back where they are a little more protected from poachers and those who could harm them to defend their land.
In the areas close to the reserves, students walking to school can often come across groups of elephants or, worse still, solitary, lost specimens that can threaten them, while at the same time the inhabitants are sometimes forced to shoot or shoot and kill them when they threaten their crops.
Here then is the need to develop a system: the invention simply consists of a GSM card, a motion detector, a warning light and a siren.
The device is able to detect an elephant within a radius of 180 metres and then sends an alarm to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the villagers, preparing them to take action before the animals start destroying crops or heading towards inhabited areas.
Warning messages are sent to people whose phones are connected to the GSM card.
This was not created by scientists or experienced technicians, but by a group of four pupils from the Kajire Girls secondary school in Voi, at the gates of the Tsavo National Park, where elephants are particularly common in the villages.
The construction of electric fences around the parks and reserves would be the ideal solution, but it is not feasible due to the very high costs, Tsavo in particular is immense and divided into two large areas.
Until now, rudimentary systems have always been used locally, from rattles placed on paths at a certain height, to the use of pepper or hives to make the pachyderms escape, or even groups of inhabitants emitting particular sounds with drums.
On a national level, competitions were held at high school level and the student Sandra Maryanne, with her schoolmates Joyce, Nancy and Antonia participated in the final selection, called "Start-Up Africa Diamond Challenge". Led by their teacher Ezra Abuga, they won with their "Ndovu Care Project" and were called to represent Kenya at the University of Delaware in the United States after defeating 85 other projects submitted by secondary schools across the country.
"The sensors are able to detect the presence of an elephant and immediately alert people by activating flash lights and a siren, as well as sending warning messages to the phones of KWS and the villagers - said Sandra, from which the system "Anisan" is named, to The Edge magazine - We want both humans and wildlife to coexist and this will lead to a peaceful community and at the same time to improved school performance. But we also believe that this device can reduce poaching and death of elephants in the areas where it will be applied, as well as improve the nutritional aspect of the population, because less crops will be destroyed.
Sandra meanwhile remained on an internship at the University of Delaware and a prototype of the invention she coordinated was assembled at Rukinga Ranch. The KWS is waiting for the results of the experiment so that Anisan can be adapted throughout the country.
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