Kenyan wildlife brought to your phone as part of camera-monitoring project

9th Sep 2013

Kenya, with its 19 national parks and big game reserves, has long been a leading destination for wildlife-based specialist tours.

As many as 1.6 million foreign tourists are expected in the east African country this year, many of them on group tours in search of lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, rhinos and spectacular birdlife.

Mount Kenya National Park, Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria Game Reserve are all much-loved animal-based tourist haunts.

Now Kenya is leading the fight to protect some of the world's most rare and endangered species in some of the remotest areas of Africa.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is creating a safety net of eyes and ears via satellite-connected and motion-triggered cameras to protect threatened wildlife in the country's Tsavo National Park.

The service is working in tandem with product development company Cambridge Consultants and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) charity on the Instant Wild project.

The cameras, which are being set up in areas such as watering holes, can take up to 30 pictures a day besides multiple photographs less than a second apart on each motion trigger, to monitor endangered species.

Once pictures are taken, they are pinged back to ZSL's central server within two minutes, where they are then posted on the charity's website and app.

The mobile app allows animal lovers anywhere on the planet to see the images and immediately identify the animals by cross-checking with the field guide provided in the app.

KWS currently manages 8% of Kenya's overall land mass.

Patrick Omondi, KWS deputy director of wildlife conservation, said: "These cameras will be critical in helping us monitor the wellbeing of rare animals and ensure their habitats remain protected from poachers."

More than 1,000 rhinos have been killed in Africa in the past 18 months alone.

Once established in Kenya, there are plans to extend the scheme in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Himalayas and the South Pole.

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