The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), a coalition of WWF and Fauna & Flora International, are trialling a combination of Inmarsat satellite technology and handheld devices to collect data on endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. There are thought to be about 1,000 mountain gorillas living in the wild in protected parks, 400 in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and 600 in the Virunga mountains. With human population growth of almost 3% per annum, these areas are experiencing increased pressure on space that can result in conflict between gorillas and humans, including attacks on crops and people and poaching. Local members of the National Park’s Human Gorilla Conflict Resolution (HuGo) programme are trialling Inmarsat handheld devices that enable them to record incidences of human-wildlife conflict in their local language. It is hoped that this, combined with visual tools and standardised reporting, will enable managers to act on information more quickly. Data collected by HuGo groups is transmitted via satellite to UWA rangers and other HuGo members in near real-time and stored on a central UWA server. As part of the pilot, UWA will also trial the automatic transfer of data to its server via satellite networks.
Impenetrable no more
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