Experts call for use of drones to protect wildlife

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Animals in the national park will have time to dance around in the wild bushes without fear of falling culprit to a poachers spear, this is because tourism experts are looking at using drones to protect the wildlife.

With a remotely controlled plane known as drones hovering in the skies above national park and sending signals and pictures to both the patrol team and the head office, it would be easier for an animal to be saved in time.

Currently, patrol teams react to situations such poaching through radio communication  or a tip off from the communities around the park, which according to experts is straining and cost consuming making quick rescue responses difficult.

“You can imagine a drone monitoring these animals,” Kaddu Sebunya, President of African Wildlife Foundation told Rwanda Eye.

As a tool for monitoring wildlife, drones have proved useful for monitoring some species.

As a tool for monitoring wildlife, drones have proved useful for monitoring some species.

The continental foundation that focuses on sustainability of wildlife and wild lands in Africa believes that technology can help address issues such as loss of endangered species through trafficking, carrying out census for animal and plant populations as well as outbreaks such as diseases.

To implement this, common markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has asked Rwanda to help pilot the use of drones in wild life as well as the ecosystem, after tourism was agreed on by member states as one of  the sectors to bolster the economies in the region.

“Rwanda has done a remarkable step in using technology and we have seen success, this why we want Rwanda to pioneer the project,” said Sindiso Ndema Ngwenya, General Secretary of Comesa.

Rwanda, whose economy is expected to leapfrog to technology based by 2020 sets to be the first to use Drones to deliver medical supplies in rural country parts which COMESA says would be strategic in implementation of technology in the tourism sector.

The country is waiting to carry out a pilot of 15 drones in supplying blood to 21 health centres in remote areas of the country in the coming month, a step towards fourth industrial revolution’s pillar – the use of technology in service delivery.

Sindiso says that Rwanda has succeeded in engaging communities around national park into income generating activities to end poaching and park encroachment with the national park revenues shared with the communities.

Accordingly, tourism sector is still leading in foreign exchange earning for east African economies contributing    11 percent, 9.9 percent and 8 percent contribution to GDP   for Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya respectively.

“To create real economic development that benefits all of our people in Africa, the sustainability of ecosystems on which the global economy depends must be guaranteed,” Kaddu said, “The battle for conservation is not so much about lost ecosystems – rather it is one about our ability to live on this planet into the next 50 years.”

The foundation says that unless something is done in protecting the ecosystem and the wildlife several species are facing extinction, specifically elephants that are hunted for ivory, lions and mountain gorillas among others.

Statistics from Africa wildlife foundation indicates that African mainland harbours 4,700 mammal species, 2,000 birds species, 2,000 fish species, 950 amphibians species and 50,000 plant species that the African mainland harbours and 100,000 insects and arachnids species, actually Africa supports 35% of the globe’s biodiversity





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