A snow monkey snatches up a tourist's smartphone in a Jigokudani, Japan, natural hot spring. Vote for this photo in the 2014 Wildlife Photographer Of The Year competition.
Photo by: Marsel van Oosten

Old Smartphones Detect Poachers in Cameroon

by / September 3, 2014

Rather than throwing them away, researchers are networking old smartphones together to detect poachers and illegal loggers in the forests of Cameroon, Africa.

A joint project of the Zoological Society of London and Rainforest Connection, the phones will run on solar power and cover 40 square miles of forest where elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas live. Each phone can cover one square mile of forest.

The phones can detect and relay sounds to authorities that would indicate illegal activity, such as gun shots, logging trucks and chain saws. A similar technology was used at a gibbon sanctuary in Indonesia.

Conservationists typically use satellite surveillance data to detect logging, which allows forest degradation to be seen, but not for the perpetrators to be caught.