19 June 2017

Tanzania: Time Up for Conservation of Wildlife Innovation


Arusha — POACHING is a deadly crime against wildlife. It entails an illegal catch or killing an animal, bird, or fish on someone else's property.

It could also mean illegal shooting, trapping or taking of game or fish from private or public property.

In Tanzania and other countries that are endowed with vast resources in wildlife enjoy this benefit but it does not end there, as it has also to share the consequences of poaching that are extensive.

Being in proprietorship of 20 percent of the species of Africa's large mammal population found across its reserves, conservation areas, marine parks and national parks that are spread over an area of more than 42,000 square kilometres wildlife resources of Tanzania are described as 'without parallel in Africa' and 'the prime game viewing country'.

With such kind of wildlife, including fauna and flora, undoubtedly there have always been needs to employ anti-poaching devices, as once left at will; poaching could be destructive. Anti-poaching devices chiefly operate on the African continent.

In a way, it should be a structured militarylike approach to conservation, employing tactics and technology generally reserved for the modern-day battlefield.

The question is: Wildlife Conservation Technical Innovation fake news? Bathawk Recon (BHR) Executive Director, Mr Mike Chambers is a Tanzania registered limited liability company set up to deliver Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) based anti-poaching services to public and private organizations says that the short answer to the above question is 'no', but is quick to add some stuff as well as questions.

"But where we would like that monosyllabic response to completely reassure, a deeper look raises serious questions.

How do we discern fact from hype in our modern world? How do we back one technology rather than another when the measure of choice is an online popularity contest?

And the issue is the future of species. Because it could very well be that success in the campaign to save rhinos and elephants will depend on just the right mix of these new innovations."

Mr Chambers says that technical innovation is on track to revolutionize how protected areas work and how they can save the iconic species.

That the movement forward of innovative ideas like drone anti-poaching or integrated incident databases, are conceived of and driven forward, not necessarily by their inherent practicality, but by their attractiveness in the 'market' of online content.

"On one hand, that's a good thing because online, global, forces are the fastest and most potent mechanisms to bring together the resources to change the way things are done.

On the other hand, there is the danger that the modern media's malleable version of the truth may distort the message and endanger or reverse progress," he says.

The director reveals that there are many technological options that would help protection authorities defend wildlife in Africa and elsewhere in the world, unveiling that there are a number of major initiatives that have created data bases developed to integrate information from across protected areas so that rangers could react in real time.

"Predictive Analytics on other systems consolidate such protected area data based and predict from their input where problem areas (and species) might be.

Smart Collars researched have collared wildlife for some time. Collared wildlife data can now be gathered and used as a key input into protecting rather than studying behavior.

Key physical locations can be equipped with movement sensitive cameras that record activity. This can be fed into analysis in real time to describe the movement of wildlife in a Protected Area.

"Shot Triangulation sensitive mikes can be set up, spread out across a park and linked to a central analysis point. This system will triangulate on any shot allowing rangers to proceed to the site without delay.

Drones can be used either tactically or strategically to extend and enhance the capability of rangers or find suspicious activity and lead rangers to incidents," he says.


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