A community of conservation organizations announced today a free software tool for wildlife managers specifically designed to stop poaching.
Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool (SMART 1.0 http://www.smartconservationsoftware.org/Home.aspx) is a ground-breaking and innovative management tool designed to assist rangers on the ground to stop poachers in their tracks and curb the illegal trade of wildlife. SMART isn’t owned by any one individual or organization; it’s free and available to the whole conservation community.
SMART is a new set of community-owned open-source software tools that measure, evaluate, and improve the effectiveness of wildlife law enforcement patrols and site-based conservation activities. Its combination of software, training materials, and implementation standards provides protected area authorities and community groups with the ability to empower staff, boost motivation, increase efficiency, and promote credible and transparent monitoring of the effectiveness of anti-poaching efforts.
SMART is a partnership of conservation organizations including CITES-MIKE, the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), the North Carolina Zoo (NCZ), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). These organizations recognized the day-to-day difficulties faced by many conservation managers across the world: operating on thinly stretched resources in the face of escalating threats to biodiversity.
The groups developed SMART in response to the recognition that traditional approaches, technologies, and resources are not stemming the illegal killing and trading of endangered species – such as tigers, rhinos, elephants, great apes, and marine turtles – and the resulting loss of threatened and highly valued biodiversity. A critical issue is the growing gap between the sophistication of those involved in the illegal capture and trade in wildlife, and the number, skill levels, and motivation of the personnel committed to enforcing anti-poaching laws.
Apart from developing the software and training components of SMART, the partnership members intend to promote it across their project areas around the world. This will provide SMART with a very powerful foundation for sustainable, long-term growth and ensure widespread adoption, leading to consistent, comparable and effective datasets.
Benson Okita-Ouma, Kenya Wildlife Service Senior Scientist – Rhino Program, said: “We at KWS are eager to implement SMART across our protected areas as we clearly see the huge potential it has in helping our managers better monitor and evaluate law enforcement efforts. The SMART tool and framework will help our staff to make better informed decisions for protecting and managing our rich biodiversity particularly at a time of increasing poaching pressure.” More....