A clever new tool for finding
poachers in an African nature reserve, has resulted in one of the more
effective battlefield sensors in a long time. This improvised systems employs
the hand held metal detector wands used by airport security personnel to find
metal objects on people. These are hidden in the underbrush, and send a signal
if a large metal object passes nearby. The transmitter can communicate with a
wi-fi antennae that is up to a thousand meters away. There, the signal is
passed, via satellite comm, to park security headquarters, where the progress of
the armed men can be tracked, and armed park rangers sent out to intercept the
poachers. The system, called TrailGuard, was developed by an American firm,
Wildland Security, that specializes in anti-poaching technology.
TrailGuard is vulnerable to detection, and
destruction, so setting it up in secret (at least from the poachers) is
important. The system is also very portable, and can be moved around as needed.
The system was first used in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in Congo, where
poachers were usually not detected until the leftovers, from their hunting of
rare species, was discovered by park rangers. Now, the poachers are getting
caught, the word is getting around, and poaching activity is way down.
Such a system could also be used on the battlefield,
adding magnetic sensors to the host of other sensors (visual, heat, acoustic
and seismic) already out there. The more sensors you have deployed, the less
likely anyone will get through. The magnetic sensors of TrailGuard are unique
in that they detect the one thing you have a lot of difficulty hiding, the
metal in weapons.