The OpenCollar

The OpenCollar

OpenCollar is a conservation collaboration to design, support
and deploy open-source tracking collar hardware and software
for environmental and wildlife monitoring projects. 

We want the development of wildlife monitoring collars to enter the world of the cooperative, Internet-based community. By making the collars’ hardware and software and other information available online, we aim to attract and inspire talented students, researchers, and tech-savvy conservationists to develop tracking systems that are more customizable and a better fit for use on different animals.

  Making existing technology available for anyone who wants it also means anyone can inexpensively build and adjust collars, with for example a GPS, GSM or LoRa module, for their own use cases.  As the threshold for deploying collars disappears, we hope that wildlife experts will collar more animals, generate more data, create more actionable intelligence and share as much as possible to benefit the conservation of our natural world.   

Finally, bringing an audience with a passion for technology and wildlife protection into the development of these technologies will reduce cost and increase innovation overall. 

Where do we start?

Smart Parks has kickstarted and funded the design and development of the first OpenCollar Elephant tracker that consist of different modules that can be combined into several different configurations, depending on the use case. We’ll publish our development and lessons learned on, GitHub and a forum on Wildlabs. And that’s where you come in. Jointly we’ll adjust and improve OpenCollar and make the hardware and software accessible for everyone.

What is the current status?

In 2019 we have started this initiative with the development of the OpenCollar Elephant tracker. Since then, much has happened and we are happy to show you some great results. The OpenCollar initiative now has a wide range of field-tested and proven animal protection collars, that can be applied to protect not only elephants, but also rhino, lion, cheetah, wisent, wild dog and more.

What’s happening right now?

In 2020 we are continuing the development of existing collars and we are also extending the range of collars to protect even more different animals like the endangered Pangolin.

How to get them?

To use OpenCollar products in the field, there are two main routes to follow. First, you can go to our Open-Source repositories on Github and find your way to producing them to your needs. The other option is to find an organization that can do this for you. Smart Parks is not only the initiator of the OpenCollar initiative, it is also the organization that is currently offering these collars to protected areas. Please find their catalog here.


“Through the ElephantEdge challenge, we are coming together as technology leaders to provide a much-needed solution to protect elephants whose habitats are under pressure, with poachers and trophy hunters causing additional, irreversible harm,” said Adam Benzion, co-founder of “We are proud to support this project with Smart Parks and our partners, resulting in an open-source solution that will do good in the world.”


ElephantEdge Webinar 1: The Software

The ElephantEdge challenge is calling on the community to build ML models using the Edge Impulse Studio and tracking dashboards using Avnet’s IoTConnect, which will be deployed onto 10 production-grade collars manufactured by our engineering partner, Institute IRNAS, and deployed by Smart Parks.

In this first of two ElephantEdge webinars you’ll learn about the problems park rangers are facing and how to get started with IoTConnect and Edge Impulse Studio.

BLOG: ElephantEdge tracker: breakdown advanced IoT animal tracking solutions

A first blog from IRNAS, talking a bit more about the hardware set-up of the ElephantEdge tracker.

ElephantEdge Webinar 2: The Hardware

In this second ElephantEdge webinar, you’ll get an in-depth look at the hardware/ firmware IRNAS is developing and how it will be deployed by Smart Parks in their elephant tracking collars.

BLOG: ElephantEdge Tracker: Designing the Firmware and First Prototype Solution

An in depth update about the Mechanics, Electronics, Firmware and Smartphone application.

The ElephantEdge contest has ended with many amazing contributions and prize winners

Thanks to all the contributions we will have some great Concepts, Dashboards and Machine Learning Models to implement when the first ElephantEdge version is ready for testing. Check it out!

Your involvement

For the next steps we continuously reach out to the community to support OpenCollar on developing new features and modules that can be added to the tracking system:

• Custom Collar
• Quick release add-on
• Solar charging
• Satellite communication
• 2G/3G/4G communication

• UHF/VHF connectivity
• Edge Machine Learning
• Biosensor (heartbeat)
• Camera
• Acoustics

We encourage anyone who is interested in the development of OpenCollar and who’d like to partner to touch base with us.  As our planet is losing wildlife at an unprecedented rate passionate and determined conservationists around the world need to join arms, share information and protect as much as we can because;

If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?

OpenCollar Modules

OpenCollar is initiated by:

Supported by:

Development Partners: