In the dead of night in the remote African bush, poachers stalking rhinos have the advantage of solitude, silence and darkness, on their side. At Kruger National Park, a 7,580-square-mile reserve in South Africa, poacher can enter the park quietly, shoot one of the country's estimated 21,000 rhinos, and steal away with its horn - all under the cover of darkness.
But now, new high-tech measures are throwing a wrench into poachers' plans. The latest is a system of microphones placed high in treetops that can detect poachers' gunshots from nearly two miles away, and send a notification to park rangers within 30 seconds. The microphones, called the "ShotSpotter" system, spit out the gunshots' coordinates and, while the damage may already be done, they make it much easier for authorities to apprehend the poacher which makes a poacher less likely to shoot a rhino.
"When gunfire happens, a notification is immediately alert sent to our offices in California. Theresa Marcroft, senior vice president of marketing for Shotspotter, told The Dodo. "Then, a human confirms whether this sound is gunfire, or something like a tree branch breaking. If it's a gunshot, we push that alert back to first responders immediately."