Vanderbilt Engineering Tech uses Elephant Poachers’ Own Weapons Against Them

Anti-poaching authorities will soon have a powerful new weapon in their arsenal – high-tech ballistic shockwave sensors under development at Vanderbilt School of Engineering.


The new system, to be integrated with existing commercial tracking collars, would be the first use of shockwave detection technology in the intensified push to thwart illegal trafficking and save endangered African elephants.

Dubbed WIPER, the project is a joint effort between Vanderbilt computer engineering faculty and Colorado State University (CSU), which has used GPS in tracking collars for years to study and protect elephants slaughtered by the thousands for their ivory tusks. The wireless anti-poaching collars will automatically send coordinates to authorities when a gunshot is detected.

The project got a significant boost Wednesday with announcement of a $200,000 grant from the Vodafone Americas Foundation. WIPER – Wireless anti-Poaching Technology for Elephants and Rhinos – placed second out of eight finalists in Vodafone’s annual Wireless Innovation Project. The awards were announced as part of the 2017 Social Innovation Summit in Chicago.

Read More