Praise Innovative Efforts to Stop Illegal Logging and Poaching


Target: Topher White, founder of Rainforest Connection

Goal: Thank the team at Rainforest Connection for creating a tool from old cell phones to help protect threatened forest ecosystems

Rainforest Connection is using old mobile devices to save wildlife and the environment. The San Francisco-based organization is turning old smart phones into listening devices that give instantaneous information about potential illegal logging and wild animal poaching. The Rainforest Connection team does this by altering the phone’s operating systems and adding powerful microphones and solar panels, making the phone able to capture any sounds around the rainforest. They then install the phones in tall trees, hidden from unwanted poachers. Thanks to this device threatened wild animals and forests are safer from humans searching for elephant ivory, old growth timber and other illegal spoils.

The device is so high tech that the software can pick up different sounds around the forest and immediately send the information to a server. Professionals analyze the sounds to see if they represent animals naturally hunting prey or humans hunting animals for gain. The system then sends a message to local law enforcement allowing officers to more quickly arrive at the scene of the illegal activity.

Rainforest Connection has successfully started their work in Sumatra, and is hoping to expand the project to forests in other countries around the world. Thank the organization’s hard-working team for creating this device that can potentially save thousands of animals and trees from loggers and poachers.


Dear Mr. White,

Technology has certainly changed the world. It is amazing to see how old cell phones can be recycled and made into tools of conservation. Rainforest Connection is able to divert discarded cell phones from the dump and use them to save endangered wildlife and threatened forests. Each device can protect an area of forest potentially home to one thousand different species or more.

On your website, you also point out that each device your company installs can prevent release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from logging equivalent to taking thousands of cars off of the road. That fact alone is amazing. Thousands of phones are being thrown away every day in America, and repurposing them in this way helps save wildlife from poachers: a true win-win situation.

Thank you for helping bring this technology to threatened rainforests where it is needed. Your company’s efforts to protect endangered species and precious forests are already making a real difference. I wish you all success in your continued efforts to expand the project.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: FlickrLickr via Wikimedia Commons

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