Alaris Antennas assists Hensoldt South Africa to combat rhino poaching


Alaris Antennas, in a partnership with Hensoldt South Africa, is helping the non-governmental organisation Stop Rhino Poaching to curb the killing of these critically endangered animals.

Stop Rhino Poaching was established in 2010 as a response to the sudden and steep escalation in rhino poaching across South Africa. Since the start of the poaching epidemic in 2008 South Africa has lost over 8 600 rhinos – a figure that, despite much effort, increases daily.

Poachers seem to have the upper hand, Alaris Antennas said, as they know when to strike. Intelligence driven operations (knowing who, what, where, when and how) are the cornerstone elements to cracking the poaching syndicates.

Technology plays a critical role in helping law enforcement stop poachers, with radar being used successfully to detect, track and provide real-time actionable intelligence to friendly forces.

Stop Rhino Poaching recently started deploying a Mobile Surveillance Unit at undisclosed locations to detect poachers, and moves it to reserves it supports in accordance with deployment criteria.

The Unit comprises of a high definition radar with optical and thermal pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera and advanced video analytics. This system can be deployed as a stand-alone solution or serve as a support to larger surveillance systems. The system is fully mobile in rough terrain and can sustain itself with eco-friendly power for extended periods.

Hensoldt Optronics and Alaris Antennas were heavily involved in the project, with Alaris installing a new repeater for the radar system.

“The onus is on people to conserve wildlife so that future generations can enjoy the beautiful species we are privileged to see today. Alaris Antennas is passionate about funding this cause,” said Gisela Heyman, Managing Director of Alaris Antennas.

“Collaborating with our customer Hensoldt South Africa (GEW) on a project that is close to the heart of many South Africans is inspiring and we will definitely do more for our beautiful country,” added Claire Nitch, Sales and Marketing Manager of Alaris Antennas.

The Mobile Surveillance Unit was made possible through funds from multiple donors including The Elliott Family Foundation in Canada, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, Cause Conservation, Black Rhino Wheels, Legend Housewares and International Rhino Foundation.

It serves a similar purpose to the Meerkat wide area surveillance system used to detect poachers in the Kruger National Park. This comprises radar, cameras and information analysis software able to detect, track and classify threats. Reutech supplies its RSR 904 radar for the Meerkat system while the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research provides the Otus camera.