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How a Tech Nerd is Saving Endangered Wildlife: Meet WWF’s Eric Becker

When you picture a conservationist at work, do you envision a field biologist sitting in the jungle, patiently scanning the vegetation, recording observations with pencil and notebook? While such aspects of conservation work still exist, many modern tools of conservation would be unrecognizable to Dian Fossey or George Schaller. With poaching syndicates becoming more sophisticated and better equipped, rangers and conservationists have to keep up, and that means employing cutting-edge technology. That’s where Eric Becker comes in. As a conservation engineer with WWF’s Wildlife Conservation Program, Eric has found a job that merges his skills with his passion. Says Eric, “Every nerd grows up and wants to change the world. As a lover of gadgets and animals, I saw a place where my skills could be useful to develop new technology to stop the slaughter of elephants, rhinos and other wildlife.” Thanks to brilliant techies like Eric, the conservation toolbox now includes drones, night vision scopes and vibration-sensors to alert rangers when poachers get near endangered species. Eric currently researches and develops sensor-based systems to detect poachers in protected areas in Africa and Asia, in a quest to stop rampant wildlife crime. He also leverages technological advancements to find energy-efficient, low-cost ways to scale up technologies to solve the planet’s most urgent conservation issues.


Originally presented August 26, 2020
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