There are fewer than 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild. To keep an eye on this endangered species, conservationists at the 210-square-mile Panna Tiger Reserve in India attached a GPS tracking collar to one of the park’s tigers this past February. Only three people have legal access to the location data for the tagged tiger. That data is emailed to the three people in charge of watching the tiger, and in July, poachers attempted to break into that email and find the tiger.
Dead tigers fetch a high price on the black market, with individual parts going for up to $2,000 and whole tigers priced at $50,000. Tracking the tiger is useful, but if the poachers can access the location information, it suddenly becomes a massive liability. Fortunately, in this case encryption and email security kept the poachers out, but that doesn’t mean more talented poachers couldn’t break through in the future.
In the meantime, the tiger was transferred to a new reserve for protection. There, it is followed by a team of wildlife officials, whose presence should be enough to deter poachers—a physical solution to a cyber problem.