It costs between $10,000 and $15,000 USD per year to protect each rhino in Laikipia. Ol Pejeta Conservancy has over 130 rhinos and is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. Imagine their annual budget for rhino protection!
Conservancies that maintain electric fences in order to protect wildlife and to mitigate human wildlife conflict are always looking for ways to be more efficient, and to reduce the costs for operations. Ol Pejeta is no exception.
In partnership with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Liquid Telecom, and ARM, and with funding from The Royal Foundation, Ol Pejeta Conservancy opened a field-based Conservation Tech Lab that enables research, offers testing support and works towards developing new technology-based solutions to conservation challenges in Laikipia, and worldwide.
One of the new technologies on trial is the MARTIN. The MARTIN is a device used for fence monitoring. If the electric fence in a particular section does not have power, the devices send out an immediate notification message. The notification triggers a message to us and we are made aware of the fence outage as soon as it occurs. The device is manufactured by Ingenious Things, a French Internet Technology company.
OPC has more than 360 square kilometres of electric fencing!
Since the location of the MARTIN is known, we can deploy fence attendants and rangers on the ground within a very short time.
We’re hoping that more MARTINs can be shared across the landscape, and that the electric fences around the Aberdares and Mt. Kenya might soon be candidates for this technology, in addition to other rhino conservancies.