enChoice Supports a Unique Technology-Based program named SPARK (Sentinel Protection Against Rhino Killing) - Saving the Rhino Blog

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enChoice Supports a Unique Technology-Based program named SPARK (Sentinel Protection Against Rhino Killing)

enChoice Supports a Unique Technology-Based program named SPARK (Sentinel Protection Against Rhino Killing)

Historically the Rhino had no predators; survival was virtually guaranteed due to its massive size and killer horn. But the world has since changed and the Rhino’s horn is no longer a defense, but instead a highly sought after and valued item.

In a ground-breaking new program named SPARK technology is becoming the Rhino’s new “Survival of the Fittest” defense, along with the help of a community of people and fellow animals. Since Rhinos did not evolve as vulnerable to predators, they do not have the natural defenses to know when a threat exists. However, other animals in their community do. So, a variety of ungulate species have been fitted with specially designed animal collars embedded with a GPS and an accelerometer that collectively record movement related data that will be used to combat rhino poaching.

enChoice, Inc. recently announced a partnership with Welgevonden Game Reserve (WGR) to provide project management and technical support for the unique Welgevonden SPARK.


How Can Technology Help Save the Rhinos?

As the world has continued to evolve into a digital space, the opportunity exists to adapt and fine tune all aspects of an enterprise to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies Enterprises that choose to transform, will be those that survive and thrive in the future.

Survival of the Rhino species falls into this concept as well. This transformation is not something that can happen overnight. It requires a well-planned strategy, the restructuring of processes, the integration of new software and services, as well as training and ongoing support. SPARK is aimed at using cutting-edge technology, including the Internet of Things (IoT) to enable a revolutionary way of protecting wildlife. enChoice’s initial participation will include sending an Information Technology professional, Jarrod Nash, to work on-site with WGR personnel to assist in planning the production roll-out of the program. Subsequent support from enChoice will consist of additional staffing, software and technology assistance.

Francois Spruyt, Chairman of Welgevonden Game Reserve said, “We are delighted to welcome enChoice as a participant in SPARK. Their IT capabilities and expertise in cutting-edge technology will undoubtedly contribute to the success of the program. Our solution uses breakthrough technology and techniques that have the potential to dramatically reduce future existential threats to these iconic wild animals from poaching.”

Tony White CEO of enChoice added “We are honored to have been given the opportunity to apply our expertise in Digital Transformation to such an important cause. enChoice consistently strives to improve processes and we are looking forward to being able to channel our skills and solutions to benefit an endangered species and a cause that is truly critical for the future of our planet.”



In 2007, the number of rhinoceros poached in South Africa per year was 13. Just ten years later, in 2017 an estimated 1,028 rhinos were poached. This shows a nearly eight thousand percent increase in the number of rhinos poached in South Africa over a ten-year period. Why such an extreme increase? Well, in many Asian countries the rhino horn is considered to have miraculous healing abilities and has become a status symbol of wealth and success. Rhino horns have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. However, due to Asian trade bans and rhino horn powder being removed from the Chinese pharmacopeia, demand for the rhino horn decreased in the early 1990s. It is presumed that a rumor spread through Vietnam in the mid-2000s stating that rhino horn powder had cured cancer in a Vietnamese politician, sparking the resurgence of rhino horn popularity. Rhino horns are now being purchased at high rates on the black market across Asia for traditional medicinal purposes, to ingest, and to display or give others as a gift (carvings, figurines, jewelry, etc.). As the demand for rhino horn powder has increased, so has the rate of rhino poaching in South Africa. If poaching continues at the current rate, it is possible that the African rhino will face extinction.

Ecologists at Wageningen University in the Netherlands have been using analytics to predict the behavior of domestic animals for a number of years. In 2012, the University and WGR conducted experiments to establish whether the same value can be gained from analyzing wild animal movement behavior. These experiments were most encouraging and in 2016 a Proof-of-Concept project was launched to develop algorithms that would describe the movement behavior of four wildlife species. In the interim, IBM and MTN (a telecommunications company) joined the partnership. A significant period of experimentation followed: an experimental area was fenced out of the reserve and a LoRa network, in an IoT design, was built to cover the 1200 hectares (3000 acres) area; 130 ‘sensorized’ animals and a group of ‘sensorized’ humans conducted a variety of experiment over a 9-month period and in July 2018, the results were pronounced a success. The partners are now in the process of scoping the final phase—a production rollout of the technology. enChoice is providing the project management for this phase.

Stay tuned for all the latest news about SPARK!


About enChoice

Founded in 1993, enChoice, Inc. is celebrating 25 years as an award-winning Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Digital Transformation solutions company. enChoice software, services, and support help customers accelerate their digital transformation by leveraging content and optimizing business processes. enChoice is an IBM Gold Business Partner, IBM 2015 Business Partner of the Year, OpenText Technology Partner, and Microsoft Dynamics Partner. Discover why over 1,000 leading companies have chosen enChoice as their trusted experts in enterprise content management (ECM).


About Welgevonden

Welgevonden Game Reserve is located in the Limpopo province of South Africa. The reserve’s 37,000 hectares of breathtaking mountain bushveld in the Waterberg plateau are home to a wide range of species, including the Big 5. The reserve has been proclaimed as a Protected Area and is known for excellence in wildlife management. It is a living laboratory for developing advanced wildlife management techniques; and the use of technology in conservation.

For more information about Welgevonden visit www.welgevonden.org

Visit www.enchoice.com to learn more.