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Surveillance Tech That is Helping Save a Species

Missions & Applications

Hunting The Hunters

South Africa is facing a wildlife crisis: with a growing demand for illegal rhino horn, rhino poaching is on the rise, posing a huge threat to an already endangered population. The biggest challenge for conservation groups has been finding poachers before they kill – especially at night. And resources are spread thin over immense patrol areas, where poachers find it easy to hide in daytime using camouflaged shelters.

Without advanced sensors or night vision capabilities, enforcement is limited to daylight hours, and rangers are only able to catch poachers who have already brought down a rhino. Arresting the poachers at that point certainly prevents future kills, but doesn’t keep all animals from being harmed.

Rhino911, a non-profit organization that combats poachers, understands these challenges all too well. So the organization added advanced surveillance technology to their Bell 407GT helicopter; it’s equipped with the WESCAM MX-10 EO/IR surveillance turret, which can track heat signatures from a distance, making it easier to find and intercept poachers – day and night.

WESCAM’s MX-10 has helped Rhino 911 pilots identify routes used by poachers, pinpoint hunting “hides” where they camouflage themselves from their prey (and from the authorities), enabling law enforcement to go in and take action before rhinos are killed for their horns.

“WESCAM remains committed to helping slow the $20 billion illegal global trade in endangered and protected animals,” says Mike Greenley, President of L3 WESCAM. “Rhino911 is a remarkable initiative, and we are proud to help in their fight to save the rhinos.”

Counting dolphins from above

WESCAM sensors aren’t just helping rhinos – they’re being used in other wildlife preservation initiatives, too. An environmental consortium in Bulgaria installed the WESCAM MX-10 on a Vulcanair P68 to explore the dolphin population in the Black Sea. It was networked with a Churchill Augmented Reality System, which provides advanced sensor management and an intuitive operator interface.

The system’s infrared capability lets the consortium better detect the quick-moving, elusive creatures, and its HD optics even make it possible to identify particular species. The group now covers a 35,000 km2 area four times a year to get an accurate picture of dolphin activity in the area, using that information for vital conservation actions.

Want to know more about WESCAM? Find out more about the MX-10 and other WESCAM technology that’s making a difference around the world – go to or visit us on YouTube.

WESCAM MX technology provides commercial and government agencies around the world the tools they need to protect and provide for the countries they serve. To find out more about our technology, check out or visit us on YouTube. You can also visit us on Twitter and Instagram. If you are interested in talking with someone about how WESCAM’s MX technology can help improve your mission success please contact us.




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