Rainforest Connection: Fighting Back Against Poachers with Technology


    Dec 13, 2021

    In this guest post, Rainforest Connection update on a recent victory scored against poachers in Italy.

    Near Naples in the Campania region of Italy lies the Astroni Crater (Cratere Degli Astroni). Formed around 40,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption, the Romans once used the area’s hot springs as thermal baths. The site is now home to a nature reserve managed by WWF Italy, and contains small lakes, lush vegetation and a variety of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals—even wild horses.

    At this site, poachers have installed hidden solar-powered stations which play recorded calls over a loudspeaker in order to attract birds—specifically quail and pheasant—to hunt.

    Photo by RFCx / The equipment poachers were using to attract animals

    Using RFCx technology, WWF Italia and the Provincial Police of Naples were recently able to locate one such station and destroy it. Secured within a padlocked iron box, the system was powered by a car battery and a solar panel. The station was positioned next to the perimeter wall of the crater, and was activated at night by a timer to attract birds which would then be shot by the poachers at daylight.

    Photo by RFCx / Solar-powered Guardian devices can pick up environmental sounds, including the calls of animals and threats like chainsaw and gunshots

    Using data supplied by the RFCx Guardian devices, WWF Italy organized an operation with the Provincial Police to find and dismantle the poaching equipment.  WWF was able to identify the recorded calls and locate the station due to the repetitive nature of the recorded bird calls, and by identifying the barking of dogs used by the poachers.

    Video from RFCx / Dismantling the poaching equipment

    Watch the full story of how RFCx, Huawei, and WWF Italy are protecting biodiversity in three sites in Italy, including Astroni crater, under the TECH4ALL initiative: Protecting an Oasis of Biodiversity in Italy

    Read more about RFCx’s ecoacoustics solutions.

    Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.


      Leave a Comment

      Posted in


      Posted in