3 Takeaways Being A wpsWatch Volunteer: and Why You Should Too

Every day, wpsWatch staff and volunteers monitor over 1,000 photos from hundreds of hidden cameras around the world to alert protected area managers to possible threats and wildlife crimes in progress.

You can be a part of this effort too, one as engaging as it is worthwhile. 

Here are the top 3 things I’ve learned during my time as a wpsWatch volunteer:

1. Insights About the Behavior of Animals in the Wild

There’s so much to learn about the animals that appear in the photographs. For example, did you know “antelope” is an umbrella term that includes wildebeest, springbok, impala, eland, kudu and more? You’ll be able to lend a hand to scientists with their research by tagging the animals in the photos as you see them.

See firsthand the natural patterns of animal movement and behavior—animals that always have been and always will be wild. Yay! It definitely beats a trip to the zoo (although there may still be a fence or two involved).

You will learn about your own preferences along the way as well. In my experience, it’s been realizing how much I love spotting warthogs and porcupines.

2. Patterns of Poaching Activity

I’ve learned key differences between how a poacher vs a ranger dresses, behaves, and moves through the various landscapes. Recognizing different types of vehicles is an important part of the process as well. There are also times of the day and even cycles of the moon that indicate a need for increased monitoring because poachers are more likely to try their luck on dark nights.

With all this knowledge, I feel more capable of tagging questionable photos to send along to the WPS anti-poaching team for review.

wpsWatch keeps the locations and names of the conservancies and reserves it monitors confidential for security purposes. As a volunteer, you’ll see a range of photos on the image feed, mixed together from cameras located all over the world.

wpsWatch has detected hundreds of potential poachers and is an effective tool for the protection of endangered species and ecosystems. When wpsWatch detects wildlife threats, it sends emails or SMS alerts to security and monitoring staff on the front-lines, prompting an immediate response to active intrusions and illegal activities.

3. Ways to Help Rangers and Conservancies in a Real-Time Effort to Protect Wildlife

Tech plays a vital role in monitoring wildlife reserve areas and conservancies for suspicious activity, and it’s encouraging to be connected to a team of people who are using cameras and communications to help address the poaching crisis.

As volunteers, we also have the opportunity to provide feedback about the functionality of the app to the wpsWatch team of developers and the overall experience of using it day in and day out.

Favorite cam to date: these beautiful lionesses immersed in dialogue. It’s amazing to see how well the animals are able to camouflage themselves. 

— Erin Haley, wpsWatch Volunteer


wpsWatch is WPS’ core mobile and desktop app solution for fighting wildlife crime. Utilizing custom camera traps, sensors, and software, this system provides 24/7 monitoring for conservation areas and wildlife reserves around the world. 

The long-term vision is to deploy as many wpsWatch cameras as possible on a global level to protect the world’s wildlife, and it’s an inspiring project to be working toward. Best of all, with the mobile app you can help do this anytime, anywhere! 

Get our wildlife protection app : https://wildlifeprotectionsolutions.org/