Rhino once roamed in abundance, with an estimated worldwide population of 500 000 in the early twentieth century. In 2014, a staggering 1215 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa. TeleEye SA has recently unveiled a line of FLIR handheld thermal cameras ideally-suited to the rigours of combating rhino poaching. “A rhino is killed every 8 hours in South Africa alone, according to Savetherhino.org,” says Philip Smerkovitz, managing director of TeleEye South Africa.
“CCTV technology is proving invaluable in South Africa’s fight against crime,” said Smerkovitz. According to chief superintendent Wayne Minnaar of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, there have been no bank robberies, ATM or cash heists in the city centre over the past five years due to the 400 CCTV cameras installed throughout the Johannesburg CBD. “We now need to bring the advantages of optical surveillance technologies to bear for the benefit of South Africa’s fast-disappearing rhino population,” urges Smerkovitz.
FLIR thermal imaging systems use state-of-the-art infrared imaging technologies that detect infrared radiation – or heat – enabling the user to see in total darkness as well as in all weather conditions. Thermal cameras are often confused with night vision goggles (NVG). NVGs use very small amounts of light – not heat – to see. “Militaries around the world have relied on FLIR System’s thermal imaging technology for years. The fight against rhino poaching has become militarised with automatic weapons in the hands of former soldiers on both sides. It’s now time to up our game and put another military weapon in the hands of the good guys,” says Smerkovitz.
The FLIR System’s personal vision product range includes thermal vision rifle sights, monoculars and binoculars to enable poachers and rhinos alike to be located and tracked in the dark. Fellow members of anti-poaching parties can be quickly-located, whilst also enabling rapid location of wounded or downed animals. “It’s the perfect tool for expedition leaders, wildlife management professionals, and law enforcement officials to find and watch animals and locate poachers at night.”
Rugged and submersible, the FLIR System’s Wildlife series is available with video output for use in poaching prosecutions and has very long battery life for extended, multi-day patrol or pursuit operations in the field. With an extra-long range and swappable lenses to ensure top class surveillance and stealth abilities, humans and animals can be detected from up to 3 km away.
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