Everyone loves an efficient electronic gadget. Everyday new electronics are made, improved and or purchased. The new digital/technology era has definitely taken over traditional means of work, communication and transport. Needless to say it makes life a lot easier. Every sector seems to be getting integrated into this new world order, wildlife conservation inclusive.
Cognizant of the fact that traditional tools, technologies and resources were not adequately taming the illegal killings, trading of endangered species and the resulting loss of threatened and highly valued biodiversity. A tool called SMART (Spatial monitoring and reporting tool) was developed to address this challenge.
SMART is a tool for measuring, evaluating and improving the effectiveness of wildlife law enforcement patrols and site-based conservation activities. In Uganda, SMART was introduced by the Uganda Wildlife Authority with support from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). IGCP supported the introduction of SMART in Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area, inclusive of integration of past data collected with MIST.
Last year the SMART system in Bwindi and Mgahinga conservation area encountered a couple of challenges including unsuccessful data download from the hand held devices to the computer laptops hence limiting download and management of data. The concern was raised to IGCP and the faulty SMART computer and CAT devices were picked for trouble shooting. During this trouble-shooting phase, several other technical issues were identified and fixed. All the electronics were equipped with the newest version of SMART including incorporation of historic data and returned to BMCA management at a meeting held in February-2017.
“We trust that this latest update of the electronics with the newest SMART version and troubleshooting done will ensure efficiency in the use and implementation of SMART in BMCA” says, Charles Kayijamahe, IGCP Field Officer. In June, 2017, IGCP will be supporting an upgrade of the SMART handheld devices from the current CAT devices to Panasonic Tough pads to further improve the GPS accuracy and durability of the equipment in Bwindi and Mgahinga’s difficult and dense terrain.