This Kenyan Teenager Made a Simple Device to Stop Elephant Poaching
When Mercy Sigey was three years old her parents would take her to safari reserves in her native Kenya. Sigey, now 19, told the crowd at the United Nations Social Good Summit on Monday about her plan to fight poaching in Kenya’s animal reserves and around the world.
Moved by Satao’s death, Sigey developed a device that notifies park officials when poachers cross into the reserves.
Along with her classmates, Sigey built a simple sensor that can detect movement in a nine-meter radius. The students received support from the Innovate Kenya program, which is part of Global Minimum, a nonprofit that focuses on youth education and helps students in Africa solve problems in their communities.
By placing Arduinos—small, open-source hardware boards that act as environmental sensors—throughout the park, the group would be able to notify park officials of the presence of poachers and wildfires.
“I’m sure all of you here sitting in this hall would want to see an elephant standing magnificently and not lying down dead on the ground,” said Sigey, who was wearing a shirt decorated with zebras.