Four elephants every hour are killed for their ivory, according to the charity Iworry.
Many methods have been employed to try and save elephants, but could the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) be the key to protect elephants from poaching?
IT professional Sarah Eccleston believes so, and is trying to establish a consortium of companies to use IoT to protect African elephants.
Eccleston - who, outside of this project, works as Cisco's UK director of enterprise networks and IoT - has just returned from a month-long reconnaissance trip to Zambia where she investigated how IoT technology could be used to help threatened elephants.
Eccleston told CRN: "The idea I had in my head is if we could connect elephants to the internet, we could not only know where they are, but also get the sensory information which means we know where they have been shot. It also means we can get the anti-poaching team the chance to get in there quicker and catch the poachers.
"But moreover what you can also do is use the big data that is collecting around the analytics to build predictive analysis that enables you to prevent some of this crime happening in the same way as we have been using it for crime prevention - by analysing data that humans haven't thought of and figuring out where they will poach next."
Eccleston said following her return to England she is now hoping to establish a consortium of companies, including charities and IoT ecosystem partners such as app developers, who can work together and try and deliver technology to help endangered elephants, as well as other projects.
While she said that Cisco does have the technology to deliver such IoT projects today, she also highlighted a number of barriers standing in the way of such projects, including poverty in developing countries, getting the sensors physically on to the elephants and preventing theft of the technology by locals.
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