The search is on to find Britain’s best hi-tech ideas to help protect the world’s poached, hunted and persecuted animals.

The newly launched Internet of Things Animal Challenge is seeking imaginative and innovative Internet of Things inventions that use the latest in digital connectivity to tackle cruelty, abuse and exploitation of animals.

Launched by a partnership of animal welfare and conservation organisations and technology firms including the League Against Cruel Sports, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and ConnectTVT, the competition will offer crowd-funding support to those who can show their ideas will clearly make a difference.

Contestants are being challenged to come up with innovative ideas to solve one of four hypothetical scenarios:

  • Hunter becomes the hunted: How could technology be used to detect and track poachers before they kill their quarry?
  • You can’t touch this: How can technology be used to track endangered species without attaching a device to the animal?
  • Behave yourself: What technological innovation could increase detection and successful prosecution of those involved in dog fights?
  • I know what you did last winter: What new technological methods could help detect and support successful prosecutions of illegal fox, deer and hare hunting

Eduardo Gonçalves, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “We’re looking for exciting, innovative digital ideas that use the ‘Internet of Things’ concept to help stop the planet’s animals being hunted, poached, persecuted or killed for trophies.

“Harnessing the creative talent and technological expertise of the UK’s finest minds will make the world a safer and better place for animals.

“Our partnership with IFAW and ConnectTVT for this Challenge brings together in-depth knowledge of the most urgent issues facing animal protection and expertise in the technology sector, to identify which innovative ideas would be most viable and effective.”

Louize Clarke, co-founder of ConnectTVT comments, “We really believe that change happens when we bring together the unexpected - we’re so excited by the potential of this collaboration. The key here is sustainability. The Internet of Things Animal Challenge is about harnessing the IoT to create new ways to safeguard animals targeted in cruel sports and develop a long-term way to protect them through technology. It’s meaningful change where technology comes into its own.”

Jordi Casamitjana, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager at IFAW said: “I am delighted to be on the panel of judges for this innovative challenge to connect new digital technology with the better protection of animals and enforcement of the law. Technology has for a long time played an important role in animal welfare and conservation, and I look forward to seeing the exciting new ideas that could be making animals safer in the future.”

Animal welfare and conservation organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports and IFAW have a history of using technology to uncover illegal activity and mistreatment of animals. Monitors and observers pioneered the use of high powered cameras and telescopic lenses along with digital cameras, drone technologies and tracking solutions, to capture the barbaric realities of poaching, hunting with dogs and other animal persecution.

But major barriers remain. Some of the issues that need to be resolved include:

  • Power: the lifespan of devices are often restricted by batteries running out or solar cells failing
  • Impact/environment resistance: large animals can inadvertently damage or destroy devices and dirt, dust, water, heat, sweat etc. also create problems
  • Communication: “over the air” communication paths don’t always work, particularly in remote areas
  • Data protection: tracking information must be secure to ensure it does not fall into the wrong hands, such as poachers and hunters

The winners will work with the consortium’s board of animal and technology experts to identify the positive and potential negative impacts and the likelihood of technical success. The consortium will work on a crowd funding project to create as many of the devices as possible to pilot in the wild for a range of different applications

The competition runs from 27th January to 21st April, and during that time there will be opportunities to attend brainstorming sessions and check-in events at Grow @ GreenPark in Reading.

For more details about entering the competition, click here or contact Louize Clarke by email on [email protected] or telephone 07854 189407.

Ends

Further press information:

Please contact the League’s Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected] for any image or comment requests.

ConnectTVT press office: [email protected] or 07968 775571

IFAW press office: Ally MacDonald, Communications Officer: [email protected] 

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos of our work are available at www.ifawimages.com

League Against Cruel Sports is a registered charity in England and Wales (1095234) and Scotland (SC045533) that brings together people who care about animals. Like the majority of the public, we believe that cruelty to animals in the name of sport has no place in modern society.

Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk