Many large mammals live in the park, with over 147 species calling the reserve home, including black rhinos, white rhinos, elephants, buffalo, leopards and lions, representing the South African "Big Five" as described by the local population. Unfortunately, environmental crime is still present with rhino horn and ivory stocks a target amongst other poaching activities, requiring a specialist team of rangers to patrol the park to protect the natural treasures.
There are over 600 park game rangers, among the assistance from SAPS and the SANDF to carry out the anti-poaching activities, supported with two helicopters. Along the Mozambique border (also including buffer zones), there are long fences that were established to prevent unwanted "visitors" infiltrating the park. The surveillance effort is managed from the control center in the park along with the national anti-poaching committee, who also oversees all activities and coordinates related units for anti-poaching requirements. To aid the efficient collaboration of resource, a professional communication solution was required that would help the groups objective to achieve zero loss of life from poaching activity, both animal and human.
Considering the challenging wilderness and natural sensitivity of the operation across the park, fixed line and mobile telecommunication services only cover the main tourist areas and didn't deliver the mission critical requirement. Due to the scale of the reserve, with massive plains and grass fields, it was not feasible and economical to set up many sites to provide communications, as such patrollers had utilized simple push-to-talk on their old analog radio system for many years.
However, as poaching activity increased and more resource was added to the anti-poaching activities, the existing system became crowded and less efficient. The rangers were also suffered from several casualties in more remote areas, therefore a better way to locate incidents and send reinforcements was needed.
The Hytera Solution
After a comprehensive site survey and discussions with the customer about their budget allocation and current infrastructure, Hytera provided a reliable, cost-effective anti-poaching communication system comprising of a multi-site DMR Tier II repeater system and Smartdispatch application.
Hytera DMR products utilize TMDA technology to improve channel efficiency across the allocated radio frequencies, so the digital communication capacity is doubled compared to the old analog system, with no need to apply for new frequencies.
The microwave connected repeaters are the backbone of the communication system, supporting clear voice and data services, with a dispatching center completing the comprehensive solution.
The control centre can now manage remote maintenance and improve response times by utilising various applications such as SDS, vehicle location, personnel location polling and track monitoring services.
To survive in the harsh environment of the game reserve, Hytera MD785G and PD785G terminals were deployed, compliant with MIL-STD 810G standards to ensure that performance is unaffected by the inevitable knocks and drops. Even under challenging weather conditions such as heavy rain and dust storms, the radios continue to work well and provide outstanding clarity.
The repeater-based system is future proof and can be easily upgraded to Hytera Extended Pseudo Trunking (XPT) in the future if the communication activity increases. The repeaters can even migrate to a Hytera DMR Trunking system through a software upgrade if the ranger resource continues to grow, providing a simple migration path to expand into a more powerful system in years to come, allowing more effort and focus to be invested in to wildlife protection.
Value brought by Hytera's Solution
- Rugged and robust terminals
- Improved Spectrum Efficiency by DMR technology
- Powerful DMR repeater covers a large area
- IP based network maintenance reduces operational cost
- Dispatch workstation offers various applications
- Flexible to extend system capacity or functionality