Episode 86 – Saving Rhinos with Connected Conservation

Episode #86
Original Air Date: 08.05.2019

34 Minutes

Listen Here

Our Guest This Episode: Doc Watson

Almost 6,000 rhinos have been killed by poachers since 2008. They are being killed at a rate of one every eight hours, which could mean the extinction of the species in six years. In 2015 Bruce (Doc) Watson launched a groundbreaking project called Connected Conservation in which Dimension Data and CISCO are collaborating to use advanced technology to help eradicate the poaching of endangered species.

Part of the Dimension Data group for 32 years, Doc leads their global strategic relationship with Cisco and serves on the Britehouse Technologies Board of Directors. Between 1998 and 2002 he was on the company’s board of directors and was responsible for developing the group’s global networking services operations, and all operations in the U.K. and Europe.

Hear about Connected Conservation’s pilot plan in a private game reserve in South Africa. Doc tells us about the project and the impact it has to track and apprehend poachers and save the rhino in Africa.

Favorite Quotes from Our Talk:

"I think there was almost a calling, if I could call it like that, where I could marry technology to conservation and have a look at saving species.”

- Doc Watson

“We’re creating a safe haven for the animals to roam freely, and we’re protecting the land against ..... the poaching syndicates that come in.”

- Doc Watson

“To be quite blatant and honest with you, it’s a war on the ground.”

- Doc Watson

Share With Others

The podcast for project managers by project managers. Hear about Connected Conservation’s pilot plan in a private game reserve in South Africa. Doc Watson tells us about the project and the impact it has to track and apprehend poachers and save endangered animals.

Table of Contents

01:00 … Meet Doc
01:38 … Rhino Poaching Problem
03:08 … Doc’s Passion for Conservation
04:06 … Dimension Data
06:06 … Tour de France Innovations
09:15 … Connected Conservation Beginnings
12:40 … A Proactive Solution
14:27 … Tracking Humans
17:54 … Connected Conservation Stakeholders
18:43 … Opposition to the Project
20:20 … Risk Assessment and Recruiting
22:40 … Keys to Project Success
25:11 … Why the Horns?
27:08 … Looking Back
30:06 … How can You Help?
31:50 … Find Out More about Connected Conservation.
33:09 … Closing

DOC WATSON: I think there was almost a calling, if I could call it like that, where I could marry technology to conservation and have a look at saving species. 

NICK WALKER:  Welcome to Manage This, the podcast by project managers for project managers.  Every two weeks we meet with you in mind, you who are living and working in the field of professional project management.  What we do is try to get inside the brains of those who are involved in all sorts of projects, big and small; see what has brought them success and how they foster success in others.

I’m your host, Nick Walker, and here along with Bill Yates.  We’re going to be talking about, among other things, a project that brought together some of the greatest minds in technology to save a species.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, this is so fascinating to me, Nick, because Doc is going to talk to us about wedding technology with a really serious issue, a very serious passion point for him.  And to hear him explain it, this is going to be great.

Meet Doc

NICK WALKER:  Well, let’s meet our guest.  He’s Doc Watson.  For 32 years he’s been part of Dimension Data, a South African tech company.  Between 1998 and 2002 he was on the company’s board of directors and was responsible for developing the group’s global networking services operations, and all operations in the U.K. and Europe.  In 2015 he launched a groundbreaking project called Connected Conservation, which uses technology to help eradicate the poaching of endangered species.  Doc Watson, welcome to Manage This.

DOC WATSON:  Thank you very much indeed.  Thank you.

Rhino Poaching Problem

NICK WALKER:  Before we get into the specifics of this project that we want to talk about, can we just talk about how big the problem of poaching is?  I mean, the figures are staggering.  Almost 6,000 rhinos have been killed by poachers since 2008.  At one point they were being killed at a rate of one every eight hours, a rate that, if it persists, means the extinction of the species in six years.  Why does this tragedy tug so fiercely at your heartstrings?

DOC WATSON:  Okay.  So I come from the computer world.  My passion is wildlife and conservation.  To give you your specifics, rhinos are still being killed one every eight hours, which is three per day.  And if it continues at the rate that it’s going, about 2025 we will have no rhinos left in this world, and certainly in South Africa.  And so I think from my point of view, being passionate about it, I think there was almost a calling, if I could call it like that, where I could marry technology to conservation and have a look at saving species.  And I’m sure you’ll be aware that there are 7,000 species around the world that are endangered currently.  This is just looking initially at Africa, where we want to save, not only rhino, but also the elephant, pangolin – which is a scaly anteater – as well as lion.  And those are all highly endangered animals currently in Africa.

Doc’s Passion for Conservation

BILL YATES:  Doc, this passion of yours goes way back; right?  I think I’ve heard you speak and say that you travel the world just to understand endangered species and their habitats better.  How far back can you recall when this really became a passion point for you?

DOC WATSON:  So I think it’s always been a passion point for me.  I think ever since I’ve been growing up I’ve been building game farms with papier-mâché.  I’ve been building domesticated farms.  I’ve got all these plastic toys and always participated in things like that.  So it’s really gone back to when I was a little chap growing up, effectively.  And I’ve been passionate about going to private game reserves, national parks, wherever I can go.  And I’ve done that since probably the age of five years old.  It’s a bit difficult for me to remember that far back now, being in my maturing years, I suppose.  But it does go back a long time.

Dimension Data

NICK WALKER:  We’re going to talk more about the project in just a second.  But I want to hear a little bit about Dimension Data and some of the work the company has done worldwide.

DOC WATSON:  Yeah.  So I think once again I’ve been very fortunate to be one of the founders.  My best friend and I met 49 years ago when we started high school together, and we’ve been best friends ever since.  And we always chatted about going into business together with a third guy that was at school with us, as well.  And we started up in the technology space in 1983, where the company began effectively locally in South Africa.  From there in 1996 we decided to globalize the company.  And we went global not really knowing what it was all about, but then acquired various companies around the world.  And currently we’re in 47 countries around the world, and we employ 30,000 people.

In 2010 we were totally bought out by a company in Japan called Nippon Telegraph and Telecommunications, NTT.  They subsequently own us and have been an amazing partner to us, left us alone to get on with our business.  But effectively we’re getting much, much closer now.  We’re integrating companies.  And as of the first of July, in fact, we’ll be known as NTT Limited.

So to get back to your question, we’ve done a lot of solutions around the globe, a lot of managed services around the globe.  The company itself does in the region of $8.5 billion U.S., employs 30,000 people, and exists in 47 countries around the globe.  And with the integration, as of the first of July we’ll be present in 57 countries around the globe.  So it’s fairly expansive.  By then we’ll be 40,000 people, as well, with a joint revenue of $12.5 billion U.S. outside of Japan.

Tour de France Innovations

BILL YATES:  That’s phenomenal.  Doc, so one of the things that intrigued me about the project that we’re going to speak on, the rhino preservation, one of the thoughts that gave rise to this, I believe it was some early work that your company was doing with the Tour de France. Can you describe that?  You went from tracking cyclists to tracking those who may want to impose on a rhino.  So how did that come about?

DOC WATSON:  Yeah, so in the technology world there’s a term called IoT, which stands for the Internet of Things.  And Dimension Data as a global company started off the Internet of Things in Australia, where we looked at connected healthcare.  And what we did was, it was primarily, I beg your pardon, revolving around giving a patient a better experience in a hospital once they were admitted.  So on admission they were given an iPad, and they would have access to their surgeon, to the pharmacy, to your television stations, to the kitchen of course.  But the most important two areas were, one, it gave you a write-up on what your operation was all about; and then, two, your post-operative recovery.  So that just gave the client a better experience, your patient.

We then went into Barcelona and did connected cities.  And then we signed up and did connected sports and recreation with the Amaury Sport Organisation who own the Tour de France.  I’m not sure if you guys are cyclists or aware of it, but the only way a chap like Phil Liggett, who is a great commentator, could tell the speed of a cyclist going down a mountain was when the motorbike came parallel to the bicycle, the guy on the back of the motorbike would have a look at the speedometer, see what speed they were going, write it on a chalkboard, and hold it up for the commentator.  And that was the only way of telling the speeds going down a mountain.

BILL YATES:  I remember seeing that, and I thought, what is this bizarre event that’s going on here?  Is he trying to help him, or is he going to knock him off his course?  What is this motorcycle doing here?  Yeah.

DOC WATSON:  Yeah, exactly.  So we came along and signed with the Amaury Sport Organisation as the technology partner in 2015, and effectively we went to work. And so what we designed was we got transponders that we put underneath the saddle of every single racing bike. And the information of the bicycle then transferred to the motorbike, the gendarmerie that had the aerials. It went from there up to a helicopter then from the helicopter it was transmitted down to data trucks.  And there we’d work on the data analytics, all your data, and push it into the cloud, effectively.

If either yourself or Nick, if you wanted to access one of the cyclists in the Tour de France, then all you need to do is bring up his name, effectively, and it will tell you all sorts of things like where he is in the stage on that day, where he is in the overall cycle race, what his maximum speeds are.  And what we’re doing is we’re continually working on that to get better information so that the teams themselves can make better informed decisions in terms of their daily strategies.  So it’s been a very, very exciting project for us, I have to say.

Connected Conservation Beginnings

BILL YATES:  And then this led to thinking, okay, this technology would work in an environment that would help protect endangered species. Did you just wake up one morning and go, hey?  so how did you come up with that?

DOC WATSON:  Absolutely.  You’re not far off the mark, I have to say, so what I then thought was we’re doing all these connected projects.  So why don’t we have a look at something called “connected conservation,” which I termed it “connected conservation” because it’s a very interesting sort of area, obviously, that game reserves and national parks are in because there’s little to no communications in those areas.  They’re very much in outlying areas, obviously, for the game to roam freely.  But what I did was we partner with Cisco, Dimension Data, and they have an annual partner summit every year. And we obviously attended, we’re their biggest partner outside the United States in the world.

And I spoke to the then-CEO where we had our executive meeting, and I approached him, John Chambers, and I said, “John, isn’t it time we did a project, corporate social responsibility project? We can save the rhinos in Africa.”  And he said to me, “Well, Doc, I’m already involved in saving elephants in Kenya.”  In fact, he gave money to the Chelsea Clinton Foundation, who do a lot of work in saving elephants.  So I said, “No,” I said, “more from a company point of view, Dimension Data and Cisco, we can do an Internet of Things project in South Africa in a game reserve adjoining the Kruger National Park.  And we would put in a solution called ‘connected conservation.’”

I’m ecstatic to say he agreed.  And so we took it from there that we got out the research and development arm of Cisco and our design architects from Dimension Data, and we went to this private game reserve alongside the Kruger National Park.  And I have to say we started from scratch, effectively, in terms of putting the connected conservation solution together, which we called a “reserve area network.”

BILL YATES:  You had to build it, so there was nothing there in terms of communication infrastructure or IT.

DOC WATSON:  No.  So effectively what they had were handheld radios, they had a single laptop, and they had a controller who was just watching the laptop all day every day with a handheld radio in a brick room, effectively, that was locked by a lock and a key.  And that was it.  That was the security, and that’s how they controlled the entire reserve.

NICK WALKER:  And how big is this reserve?

DOC WATSON:  So the reserve is 62,000 hectares, which equates to about 140,000 acres, and it only has a fence line, an electric fence line along its western boundary.  And that runs for 72 kilometers, which is probably in the region of 50 to 55 miles.   There’s no internal fences.  The reserve is made up of 48 private game farms.  And on its eastern boundary there is no fence line between the reserve and the Kruger National Park, so the game roams freely between the Kruger National Park and this private game reserve.

A Proactive Solution

BILL YATES:  And what was the solution?  How did you guys implement -because what you’re about to describe is proactive, which is quite different.  So tell us about the solution.

DOC WATSON:  So you’re making probably the most important point on this call, our solution is very different to a lot of other solutions in Africa. Ours is the only proactive solution.  And so what I mean by “proactive” is effectively what we are doing is we’re creating a safe haven for the animals to roam freely, and we’re protecting the land against illegal people.  And those illegal people are effectively the poaching syndicates that come in.  So it is a proactive solution where we do not interfere with animals at all.

And so that’s why, at the beginning of this conversation, what I mentioned to you was we are saving species.  So, you know, a lot of the other solutions are reactive.  And what we mean by that is a lot of the time they go up in a helicopter, they dart an animal with a tranquilizer, as an example a rhino. 

And then what they do is the team on the ground gets to the rhino, they blindfold it, they drill a hole in the horn of the rhino and put a sensor into that.  But that sensor has to speak to another sensor.  And so they cut the subcutaneous layer in the rear end of the rhino and put another sensor in there, so the sensors are now speaking to one another.  The problem with that is, when the sensors stop speaking to each other, the rhino horn has either been hacked off, or the animal is dead.

BILL YATES:  It’s too late.

DOC WATSON:  And it’s too late, so that is purely reactive.  So what we are actually doing in our solution is we are tracking humans.  So we do not interfere with the animals at all.

Tracking Humans

BILL YATES:  How do you track the humans?  It is brilliant.  It’s a brilliant solution.  You’ve flipped the issue, and so how do you track and know who’s friendly and who’s not?

DOC WATSON:  So let me quickly explain the technology around the reserve.  So what we have is the 62,000 hectares, effectively, which is 140,000 acres, we have a 72-kilometer electrified fence on the western boundary.  We have four entry points into the reserve, three of which are both vehicle and pedestrian, and one pedestrian entry point. At these entry points we have local area networks with WiFi, wireless technology, we also have CCTV cameras, and we have biometrics.

And so every single vehicle, and that is one vehicle enters our reserve every three minutes, that can be anything from a tourist to a landowner to a permanent staff member to a contractor to a supplier.  They come in, they have to supply their ID numbers, their identification numbers, as well as their registration plates on their vehicle.  We have linked to the national database, and we access that to see whether the motor vehicle has been stolen, or whether the individual is a criminal or not.  So that’s what happens at the entry points.

Around the perimeter of the reserve we have a point-to-multipoint routing network that encompasses a whole lot of different activities within the reserve.  What we have around the perimeter is on the bottom strand of the electrified fence we have acoustic fiber, we’ve also planted magnetic sensors around our perimeter.  We also have something called LoRa technology on the inside of the reserve, which is long-range wireless connectivity.  And that gives the game rangers better communications between one another. And all of that then comes into a control room, and we have two controllers looking at 36 screens, 7 by 24 by 365 days.  So the days of a handheld radio have gone out the window, effectively.

And one thing I did miss out on, I apologize, is that we have thermal cameras, also, and the thermal cameras are placed at high intensive zones around the fence line.  So what we’re doing is that all comes in, you’re watching and seeing thermal imaging come in where we’ve actually intercepted poaching syndicates and arrested them.  But what they’re doing is they’re monitoring this on a 7 by 24 by 365 days, and they’re communicating with ranging teams that are patrolling 7 by 24 by 365 days.

As well as that, we’ve given the warden and the head of security mobile control rooms.  So we’ve put a router into an SUV, effectively, given them an iPad, and the 36 screens that they’re seeing in the control room are now in their vehicles when they are traveling around the reserve, as well. So we’ve had – that is basically the solution that we have, we’ve tested drones, and a lot of people ask about drones. The problem or the issue with drones is you can’t really keep them up in the air just for surveillance.  I think they’ll play a role down the line, but that just doesn’t make sense yet.

Connected Conservation Stakeholders

NICK WALKER:  A project of this magnitude obviously has to have a lot of stakeholders, I would assume.  Who are the stakeholders involved in this?

DOC WATSON:  Yeah, that’s a good question, as well, Nick.  Currently it is Dimension Data and Cisco, where we funded this entire project as a corporate social responsibility project, which we’re quite passionate about.  But those are the two stakeholders currently.  Just to mention, it is a pilot project.  It’s work in progress, if I could put it like that.  We’re always testing new products to make it a better solution and stay one step ahead of the illegal people that enter the reserve.  So it continually tests.  So we can put great solutions into other parts of Africa, which we’ve started doing, as well.

Opposition to the Project

NICK WALKER:  Was there any opposition to this project among the locals or businesses?  Did you face any of that, at all?

DOC WATSON:  No.  In fact, people grabbed it with open arms, they’re incredibly appreciative of what we’ve done.  I think, Nick, to tell you that where it’s a massive plus is effectively we’ve educated part of the communities, and they’ve been offered jobs.  So that has gone a long way to helping the communities around the reserve get jobs, you know?  Because if you have a look at something like the Kruger National Park, the Kruger National Park is two million hectares, which is the size of Wales, to give you an example, they employ 2,000 people. The private reserve where we’ve put the solution into, which is 62,000 hectares – which is, I think, am I right in saying a 60th of the size of the Kruger National Park, plus/minus – so we employ 3,700 people.


DOC WATSON:  So it’s giving employment, it’s giving education, it’s just making it a better place. It’s education around tourism, also, and what tourism means to the local communities in terms of employment, in terms of offering them jobs, in terms of educating them.  To give you an idea, there’s probably in excess of 200,000 people on our boundary fence, so there’s a huge amount of people, as well.  And, well, the poaching world is a pretty corrupt place.  And, you know, they’re offering extremely high amounts of money in exchange for rhino horn, for example.

Risk Assessment and Recruiting

BILL YATES:  Doc, so that brings up a big question that I’ve had, that I wanted to ask you, and it involves risks.  Usually when we’re managing projects we’re thinking of risks in terms of, you know, this may cost more money, or we may have a schedule overrun, or the quality may not be exactly what we want.  But in your case, yeah, these can be life or death things in some situations, you have very desperate people who are trying to get in and poach.  And, you know, you have weapons involved here.  So how did you recruit the right people to be involved in this project, who could approach this with the right attitude and have the right risk assessment?

DOC WATSON:  Yeah.  So I think, around that, I think the criticality is the training of these rangers, effectively people don’t really understand what happens on the ground.  To be quite blatant and honest with you, it’s a war on the ground.  You know, the poaching syndicates, if they’re threatened in any way, they’ll shoot to kill.  So the ranging teams have to be trained in terms of how to combat that, how to intercept poaching syndicates, and how to work with them in terms of arresting the people, capturing them.  You know, because at the end of the day in the poaching world there are obviously extremes as there are in every crime around the globe.  People are being offered huge amounts of money on one hand, and very little on the other hand.

A poacher, to give you an idea, got caught in the Kruger National Park, and so he was asked, you know, “Why are you actually poaching rhino horn?”  So he said, sadly, he’s got to feed a family of eight people, and he didn’t have a job.  So they said to him, “So what are you getting in return for a rhino horn?”  And this guy said he’s getting a five kilogram bag of maize meal for a rhino horn.  Then you get the other extreme where in other reserves, for example, in exchange for a rhino horn they’re getting between 10 and $15,000 on the ground.  Now, if you equate that in the bigger picture, the guys who are doing the anti-money laundering, the international consumer is paying between 90 and 100,000 dollars for a crushed kilogram of rhino horn.

BILL YATES:  Oh, man.

DOC WATSON:   So you’re looking at, on average, I mean, a rhino horn, you’re probably looking at a half a million dollars.

Keys to Project Success

BILL YATES:  Doc, as you look at this, you think about the risks that are involved, both in terms of project success and the life-or-death situations that your team is having to deal with, so when you look back on that, what do you feel like were some of the keys to success or failure with your project?  Or another way to put it is what kept you up at night as this was going on?

DOC WATSON:  So one of the keys to success, I think the most critical success factor I think is the team on the ground that is actually running the reserve area network. That’s an operational team, so that’s the team that have adopted the solution that we’ve put in.  And that is your warden, head of security, and game rangers that have embraced our solution, and they actually run the solution.  We support them in the background, but they’re actually running it on the ground.

That is, to me, the most critical success factor because what you are finding is, particularly places like the Kruger National Park, there’s a lot of bad elements that are permanently employed there.  And they, a lot of the people there are involved in the poaching world, and so to get a team that adopts a solution is critical.  And that is what is one of the biggest success factors of our solution.  I think another one is obviously bringing technology to the people.  And it’s the Internet of Things at their end, marrying people to technology, and the two working hand in hand with one another.

BILL YATES:  Doc, I’ve got to affirm what you’re saying, too.  So to me, the projects that involve a lot of new technology to stakeholders, those that are really successful, there is that constant engagement; right?  There’s a steady stream of feedback between the end user, you know, the warden and his team, and those that are providing that new technology because I’m sure you guys had to make a lot of small adjustments.  You learned a lot of lessons along the way and had to have that conversation continue.

DOC WATSON:  Absolutely, so the relationship between supplier and user at the end of the day is very close.  We’re going in there probably once every three months to test new products, to check that the existing products are all 100 percent functional.  They’re determining that on a daily basis, as well.  So I think there’s an incredibly close relationship between supplier and user at the end of the day in terms of the success of the actual reserve area network itself.

Why the Horns?

NICK WALKER:  There’s something I need to ask you.  What makes them so valuable?  Why do people want the rhino horns in the first place?

DOC WATSON:  No, it’s a brilliant point.  You know, for 2,000 years in Chinese medicine they’ve used crushed rhino horn, and so the belief there is that it’s a cure for rheumatism, arthritis, gout, diarrhea, more recently as an aphrodisiac.  And now the bigger the rhino horn on your mantelpiece, effectively, the more wealthy you are, so it’s also become a status symbol.

And so I think that the issue for us is, Nick, is there are five stages to poaching. We’re fighting it at ground level, where there’s actually a war on the ground.  But right up at the top level you get – there’s an international bank fighting it at the anticorruption, anti-money laundering type area where you get the international consumer who’s buying this.  So that’s for the anti-money laundering, but this bank in particular is doing unbelievable work in terms of going into China, educating children against their parents. So getting them to believe that tourism is an amazing thing, and the medicinal value of a rhino horn is absolutely zero.

I mean, a rhino horn is – so the medicinal value is exactly the same as your fingernail, that’s what it is. That’s keratin at the end of the day, there’s also zero medicinal value whatsoever to it.  You know, there was a minister, I think, in the government in Vietnam who took crushed rhino horn and said it cured his cancer.  And it was purely coincidental that the guy was free of cancer, sadly.  When I say “sadly,” I mean that, you know, it coincided with him taking crushed rhino horn.  And so now that’s the belief, which is ludicrous at the end of the day, it’s just seriously not correct.                                                  

Looking Back

BILL YATES:  Doc, so one question that we enjoy asking folks like you who have been through extraordinary projects, if you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?

DOC WATSON:  That’s a very interesting question because there’s very little that we’d do over again. So I think the way we tackled the project, the way we addressed it, the way we embraced the operational team on the ground, the way we’ve got resources from Dimension Data globally, from Cisco globally, and put that all together has been an incredibly good recipe for success.  And not only that, we’ve rolled it out, the solution, little differently in a national park in Zambia.  We’re starting our third project in Northern Kenya.  And over and above those two projects, I have another 46 projects lined up in Africa, Indonesia, India, and Asia, and, funnily enough, in a bay in New Zealand.

BILL YATES:  How about that, yeah.  Well, the beauty is, we all know that the more projects you do of a similar nature, the more all of those stakeholders, those customers, are going to improve as a result. So your solutions will get better and better.

DOC WATSON:  Absolutely.  And so I think it’s making an awareness, people aware of what is actually going on.  And, you know, if you come on a safari, for example, I mean, to my way of thinking, who are we as humans to dictate whether a species lives or becomes extinct?  You know, I just – I have a real problem with it. I mean, most people come with, I know it’s a hunting term, “the big five.”  But a lot of people come to Africa to see the big five, for example.  And if the rhino becomes extinct, you know, imagine saying, “Well, you’re coming to see the big four, then,”  and, you know, it just detracts from everything.

And they’re such iconic species, at the end of the day.  When you see them – and you know we’re involved with an operation that’s called Care For Wild who do amazing work, where the cows, the mother of calves gets slaughtered for their horns, and these calves get left. So they get airlifted to this place, and these people care for these young calves, who cry like babies, you know, and they need 24-hour care, where they’ve got helpers that come in and care for them 24 hours a day. 

And what they do is they bring them back to almost normality.  Then, once they grow to a reasonable age, they reintroduce them back into the wild, and they do tremendous work.  You know, and we work hand in hand with them, as well.  So you’ve got people who are trying to make the rest of the world aware of the issues and problems we’re facing with the poaching world.

How can You Help?

NICK WALKER:  It’s great to hear about all that your company is doing.  Now that you’ve made us aware of the problems and the projects helping to solve this, how can we help?  How can our listeners help?

DOC WATSON:  I love that question, Nick.  And you know, at the end of the day what I’ve done is I’ve set up a foundation for nonprofit, so we do not make one single cent out of these projects.  Sadly, and quite rightly so, we cannot expect people like Dimension Data and Cisco to fund every single one of the projects out there.  So, you know, we would love to bring people to show them what we’ve done.  And I think the penny drops when you see these animals in the wild, what iconic species they actually are, and when you visit these people rearing these calves that are left orphaned by the poaching world.  At the end of the day, it’s money.

And it’s creating awareness for people to donate a small part of money sort of thing, you know, so that we can continue with the projects and really put them in where the foundation is not making a single cent out of it, but saving species through working with vendors who have the product that we’re using, like Cisco, and putting it into these solutions around the globe, actually.  Because not only are we wanting to protect species like rhinoceros, elephant, lion, and pangolin, the scaly anteater in Africa, but also tigers in India and Asia, then of course in places like Indonesia. Going also to South America, the jaguar, and looking at all these different species that are endangered and saving them at the end of the day.

Find Out More about Connected Conservation.

BILL YATES:  Doc, so what’s the best way for people to find out more?  Is it to go to Dimension Data’s website?

DOC WATSON:  So we have a website which we could certainly send to you, and people can donate, they can see what we have, what we’ve done.  We’ve got a lot of video material.  We’ve got a lot – I’m even prepared to go anywhere, basically, and present to people and bring them out to Africa, and I’ll take them to the reserves and show them exactly what we’ve done. I’m really so passionate about it, and if I could just play some role in saving some species in this world, I think I would have lived a fulfilled life, I have to say. info@connectedconservation.foundation.

NICK WALKER:  Well, Doc, we appreciate so much what you and Dimension Data are doing. We appreciate you taking the time to talk with us about this project and so we have a little token of appreciation that we’re going to send you. This is the official Manage This coffee mug, so we hope you will use that with our compliments.

DOC WATSON:  Thank you very much, Nick.  I really do appreciate it.  And also thank you very much for the time and showing the interest in what we’re doing, I think it’s magnificent.  And as I said, the more people that become aware of what we’re doing, I think the better it is for all of us.

NICK WALKER:  Doc Watson, once again, thank you for spending time with us.


We are all about providing what project managers need here on Manage This.  And one thing you may need are PDUs, those Professional Development Units for your recertifications. So just for listening to this podcast you’ve earned some free PDUs and to claim them, go to Velociteach.com and choose Manage This Podcast from the top of the page.  Click the button that says Claim PDUs, and click through the steps.

So now, I’d like to ask something of our listeners, if you like listening to this podcast, please let us know by leaving a review on Google, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or whatever your preferred podcast listening app is.  You can also leave us a comment on our website, Velociteach.com, or social media. We value your feedback, and by taking a moment to let us know your thoughts, you can help us make a difference.

Well, that’s it for this episode of Manage This.  Thanks for joining us.  We hope you’ll tune back in on August 20th for our next podcast.  Until next time, keep calm and Manage This.

13 responses to “Episode 86 – Saving Rhinos with Connected Conservation”

  1. Rebecca says:

    “Connected Conservation” podcast is a worthy listen. It was an eye opener for me what the impact is of poachers. Doc Watson, kudos to you and the partners helping to save these species through non invasive strategies.

    • Wendy Grounds says:

      Thanks for your comment. This was truly a project story we were thrilled to share with our listeners.

  2. David Akin says:

    I enjoyed this podcast – they are doing great things. He didn’t get a chance to elaborate on how to contact them if you wanted to help with their mission – is there a chance that Velociteach can publish his contact information?

  3. seb oye says:

    really sustainable approach to protecting endangered rhino…….. the community as key stakeholder has been incorporated into the project. great effort.

  4. EILEEN Gachette says:

    Incredibly interesting topic and new area for IOT to be implemented. Thank you Doc Watson for your excellent work with protecting the wildlife! Well done!

  5. Alan Hill says:

    I am VERY proud to be working at NTT. When my kids ask me what we do here, I can say “we save Rhinos”. NTT has an R&D budget of over 3.6 BILLION US dollars! You can be sure that the company is going to invest in more future projects like this one, that have a positive impact on our planet. Well done Doc, this is a great podcast, that I listened to right to the end.

    • Wendy Grounds says:

      Thank you for your comment Alan. We were honored to be able to share this story and hope it inspires other companies to make a positive impact on our planet. Well done NTT!

  6. Megan says:

    This was a great podcast. I was thoroughly engaged in the topic and the solution. Well done!

  7. Jonathan Jaffe says:

    I love the “Manage This” Podcasts that go beyond talking about process, but also get people excited and passionate for why we do this work in the first place. One of the first things that caught my attention in this discussion, was getting the “buy in” from John Chambers at Cisco. John is a giant in the world of technology, and it’s great to have someone like that as a stakeholder. I am also passionate about conservation and protecting wildlife. For future Manage This show notes, I would request a share of contact information, website URL’s or social media addresses such as Twitter. Especially with something like this Rhinoceros Conservation Project where part of the mission is to spread awareness and ask for support. Thanks to Doc Watson.

    • Wendy Grounds says:

      Hi Jonathan, thanks so much for your comment. We loved hearing what Doc is doing to protect wildlife and were so pleased he was able to share that with us. The links to the websites are included. You’ll see the contact info for Connected Convservation, as well as Dimension Data, Nippon, and Care for Wild website links, are all in the show notes. I always try to include as many links as possible for our listeners to find out more. 🙂

  8. Cheryl Allen says:

    Thanks! Wonderful example of one of the best applications of project management!

  9. Doc displays an extraordinary degree of altruistic dedication.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.