The illegal pet trade, bushmeat trade, habitat loss, and disease are some of the primary threats facing Africa’s great apes, which include chimpanzees, bonobos, mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas. In countries where key great ape populations exist, wildlife authorities, conservation groups and research scientists are working to safeguard great apes and their habitat.
In April 2014 The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), with support from the Arcus Foundation and the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), gathered together protected-area authorities, NGO and research university representatives, field-based ecologists, and park wardens from Cameroon, Senegal, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a programme hosted by DRC’s wildlife authority, Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN). A two-day workshop in the capital Kinshasa was followed by a seven-day anti-poaching and bio-monitoring training exercise in the country’s Lomako-Yokokala Faunal Reserve. There participants met with ICCN rangers and engaged in an overnight anti-poaching and bio-monitoring exercise using Trimble CyberTrackers.
Developed as a tool to enable non-literate trackers and indigenous communities contribute to scientific understanding of species, CyberTrackers are now being used in national parks, scientific research, citizen science, environmental education, forestry, farming, social surveys, health surveys, crime prevention and disaster relief.
‘It was a great experience,’ said AWF Biologist Alain Lushimba, who led the CyberTracker training at the reserve. ‘The guys from the other countries were able to experience the challenges of working in a remote, swampy, humid landscape. In spite of these challenges, they were very impressed that they found no sign of poachers during their overnight exercise in the forest. It shows that the partnership between AWF and ICCN in Lomako is working.’ Read more