I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time to recognize the amazing work being done by Dipesh Pabari at the Kenya Coast.
When he told me he was turning snares set to kill wildlife into art I didn’t imagine it would look quite like this.
Then he embarked on turning pollution in the ocean into another work of art. This whale shark is the outcome of his labor of love, it’s beautiful and meaningful. Hopefully we all get the message ‘stop killing wildlife and stop polluting the natural environment”. The project is getting a quite some attention.
Last summer as part of their Ocean Project, Camp International, a volunteering organisation running trips to Africa and Asia, coordinated 7 beach cleanups involving gap year students from the UK to cleanup the Kenyan coastline. Over 200 bags of litter were collected which included over 7000 flip-flops. The Camp Kenya School Team Expedition then worked with local artists to create a life size whale shark made out entirely of the recycled flip-flops picked up from the beach.
Katharine Houreld has filed an AP story describing how the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a private game reserve ranch in Kenya and Save the Elephants, an NGO dedicated to the survival of the species are using the combination of a GSM/GPS based home brew animal collar solution to track and monitor movements of elephants and other animals.
A pilot project placed an electonic collar containing GPS and GSM units on Kimani, a bull elephant who was the last surviving member of a 5 elephant group with a penchant for raiding farms to eat crops. This collar allowed park rangers to track the elephant’s movements using Google Earth / Google Maps. The project also allowed park authorities to monitor animal locations at all times and acted as a deterrent against the poaching of this important resource.
Crop raiding is a huge problem on farms bordering parks and reserves as a herd of elephants or other animals can wipe out entire crops on a single night destroying the livelihoods of the farm owners.
The coolest side benefit of the product though was when the project team figured out that they could create a virtual “geo-fence” and trigger alerts whenever Kimani the elephant stepped outside this virtual fence – an occurrence that indicated that he was probably on his way to a village to carry out some crop raiding.
The set up used a hardware and software solution that sends text based messages in real time with location data over GSM to park rangers whenever Kimani approaches a park fence that is close to a farm.
This is yet another great example of why the use of mobile phones continue to be the computing platform of choice in many ingenious and innovative homebrew technology solutions in Africa.
Click through the links below to articles and video about this project.
How Save the Elephants is using Google Earth / Google Maps to track elephant movements.
Video on how the solution works