Could this tech kill off wildlife poaching?

Wildlife poaching is still at large, with African elephants and rhinoceroses still being slaughtered despite the best efforts of animal rights activists and conservationists. However, help is on hand that could catch these illegal poachers red-handed.

In 2014, 1215 rhinos had their horns poached in South Africa, compared to only 13 in 2007. Non-profit conservation organization, Protect, has developed an anti-poaching device that could help eradicate poaching levels in rhinos and other animals significantly.

"Real-time Anti Poaching Intelligence Device" (RAPID) by Protect
Credit: Protect

With the support of Humane Society International (HSI), Protect created "Real-time Anti Poaching Intelligence Device" (RAPID); a piece of tech that consists of a video camera, a GPS satellite collar and a heart-rate monitor.

The heart-rate monitor checks for any unusual changes in the rhino's heart-rate, sending a signal to a control center, instructing them to switch on the camera, which will display what is causing the animal distress. If it is poachers, police teams will be dispatched via helicopter.

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Steve Piper, director at Protect, told CNBC via phone, that this method would act as a perfect poaching deterrent and allow rangers to detect them more swiftly with the recording devices.

"When poachers see the collar around the animal, they'll know there's no point in poaching it as they won't get away with the valuable parts of the animal."

So far, Protect have been working on the device for around four years, testing out each component. Field trials are just about to begin.

It's not just rhinos getting a 'horn-cam'

Piper told CNBC that the project doesn't just stop with rhinos or in Africa.

They are currently looking to expand the trials to protect other animals, such as tigers in India, elephants and potentially even lions and British birds of prey. Furthermore, Protect and HSI hope to develop solar chargers for the device, which would make the process more convenient.

"We really do visualize this technology being used on pretty much any animal that is either (at risk of) being poached or persecuted… to prevent them from further harm."

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Comedian, Ricky Gervais, is a supporter of Protect's work, saying in a statement that what poachers do to animals is "barbaric" and this technology gives species a "fighting chance."

"We finally have the technology to catch these people red handed, and if they know that then they'll think twice before killing another beautiful rhino."

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Other organizations have taken radical measures to combat poaching previously.

In 2013, news emerged that the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, in South Africa was injecting non-lethal parasiticides and pink dye into rhino's horns, so if people tried ingesting the powdered horn substance they'd become ill and the horn's value itself would be worthless to poachers. Rhino horns can sell for as much $65,000 per kilogram.

Universities and non-profit organizations like Air Shephard are currently looking to expand the use of drones in Africa, as a way of cracking down on rhino and elephant poaching.

—By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.