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Connected Conservation: How Cisco And NTT Are Partnering To End Endangered Species Poaching

Using technology, a 140,000-acre animal reserve in South Africa has been able to reduce poaching of the endangered rhinoceros by 96 percent within the first year of the project, Doc Watson, one of the founding members of NTT's Dimension Data, tells CRN.

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Harnessing Technology For Good  

Rhino horn is the most expensive item on the black market today, according to Bruce "Doc" Watson, group executive, Global Cisco Alliance at NTT and one of the founding members of NTT's Dimension Data.

Dimension Data, a South Africa-based subsidiary of parent company NTT and No. 13 on the 2019 CRN Solution Provider 500, is one of Cisco's largest partners globally. South Africa in 2015 estimated that rhinos, an endangered species, were being killed by poachers every eight hours. At that rate, the rhinoceros would be extinct by 2025. In response, Dimension Data and Cisco partnered to launch their Connected Conservation initiative four years ago. Its first task? To save the rhinos.

And with a 96 percent reduction in poaching within its initial project site, that's just what the two companies have done. Watson and Dave Ward, Cisco's chief technology officer of engineering and chief architect, talked to CRN about their Connected Conservation partnership, the successes and challenges of the first project, and how Cisco and Dimension Data plan to team up for many more techno-conservation projects coming down the pike. What follows is their story.

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