NU Borders Partners with Zambesia Conservation Alliance to use Advanced Analytics Solutions in the Fight Against Illegal Wildlife Trade in Southern Africa

NU Borders, LLC, a Boston, MA and Washington, DC-based data analytics company, continues to grow its presence in the conservation and anti-poaching domain. In September 2021, NU Borders partnered with the Zambesia Conservation Alliance (ZCA), a non-profit organization focused on increasing awareness of wildlife conservation efforts through meaningful and impactful initiatives within the Zambesia region of Africa, comprising the countries of Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. ZCA and its affiliates on the ground leverage advanced technology including geo-location devices for anti-poaching units (APUs) and GPS tagging for endangered species, to track and protect animals targeted for illegal wildlife trade (IWT). 

NU Borders will work closely with ZCA and its partners to collect, ingest and analyze data collected in-the-field, using the Business Intelligence for Trade Enforcement (BITE) Big Data analytics platform. The platform includes cutting-edge technology to identify poaching and illegal wildlife trade activity across a spectrum of trade and enforcement data. The goal is not only to identify individual actors involved in poaching activities, but to target transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) driving the global IWT supply chain by joining international manifest data to geo-tagged data. The BITE platform has already been deployed in Southern Africa to support endangered species protection with a focus on African painted dogs.

“BITE quickly identifies trends and suspicious patterns within the data we ingest from the field and allows operational groups to make intelligence-driven decisions for their day-to-day operations,” said NU Borders Chief Operating Officer and retired Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent, Dr. Tim Gildea.


The company’s core business function is focused on helping enforcement, regulatory and compliance operators identify threats and illicit activity in their supply chains for several law enforcement domains including strategic trade controls, intellectual property theft, wildlife trafficking, human-wildlife conflict, drug smuggling and money laundering. In 2018, NU Borders created the BITE platform, a Software as a Service (SaaS) technology, to help clients ingest and analyze voluminous, complex operational datasets. BITE contains large, open-source commercial trade datasets and screening lists, made available to users across all domains. NU Borders’ BITE platform includes visualization tools and access to hands-on training with our Data Scientists and Customs/ Border Enforcement Subject Matter Experts. 


The ZCA was founded with the vision to become an effective and credible collaborator for their conservation outreach and strategic partners in the Zambesia region. ZCA’s mission is to drive global awareness for wildlife conservation through its engaging initiatives including the Ranger Alert Campaign, #WeShareAfrica and #SportForConservation, and the Alliance’s Conservation Games. After the Conservation Games were held, ZCA was able to support the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (APU), Bumi Hills APU, Save Valley Conservancy and the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. ZCA works with wildlife trusts and IWT initiatives on the ground in the Zambesia region to increase public awareness and communications across relevant industries. 


Luke Brown and Robin Brown, Co-Founders of ZCA, recently said, “Conservation practices in the Zambesia region have been stalled by an often inefficient collection, interpretation and communication of expository information. Our partnership with NU Borders will help to solve this critical process, preventing IWT by bringing factual data to the forefront and allowing more effective and positive action to take place. If we are able to gather broad area data across multiple areas and patch it together with BITE, we stand a chance in reducing the impact of commercial poaching.”


Big Data analytics and real-time analyses are critical to APUs, frontline workers and conservation groups who are focused on protection of species and their habitats. Through analyses and visualization of large datasets in rapid time, BITE end-users can search on millions of records to identify potential transshipment points of highly trafficked species at risk. Advanced analytics help law enforcement groups quickly analyze large, varied datasets including legal court case information, and can be further enhanced by overlaying manifest data to provide insight on the global IWT supply chain. NU Borders’ BITE tool suite includes workflow management and search functions which can be used on the ground by APUs and law enforcement to quickly create cases, search on other datasets and share/export case information. NU Borders is proud to partner with the ZCA to bring big data analytics solutions to the Zambesia region and help frontline conservation groups combat IWT and protect the global supply chain.


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