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WWF Equips Rwenzori Mountains National Park Rangers with IT Monitoring Technology

​Last week, WWF facilitated the training of 70 Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) staff attached to Rwenzori Mountains National Park (RMNP) in the use of improved technology to monitor the park resources as well as the activities taking place. The trained personnel include 60 rangers and 10 senior staff. This is in a bid to intensify monitoring of wildlife resources in Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

The rangers were trained in the use of Smart Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) that will help to improve the system of park monitoring particularly; in recording illegal wildlife incidences (encounter), real time reporting, easy generation of monitoring reports and easy sharing of the monitoring information.

They were also trained in the basics of drone manipulation and operation in addition to drone data management and processing into management information.

According to the Senior Warden Rwenzori Mountains National Park, James Okware, the new technology will strengthen the management of the parks. He added that with effective integration of Information Technologies (IT), innovation will substantively help in identifying illegal activity hotspots, ranger performance and patrol efficiency that eventually informs smart management decision making for sustainable conservation of the park and its resources.

WWF Country Director, David Duli, expressed the need to protect Uganda’s natural resources against illicit trade, encroachment and pressure to de-gazette protected areas.

“Uganda is exceptionally endowed with natural assets and they should be conserved. We must protect these resources by training our staff, sensitization of stakeholders and involving neighboring communities in the management of the parks,” he said.

The Monitoring and Research warden for RMNP, Nelson Enyagu, believes that the data obtained shall help to generate information for management planning, monitoring change in animal population over a period of time, find the status of the habitat and know the threats and where they exist.

Last year, WWF donated 25 trap cameras and trained 30 rangers from Rwenzori Mountains National Park in the appropriate techniques for surveying key wildlife species to serve as a basis for effective and adaptive management within the park. 

This aimed at establishing the population, abundancy, distribution and density of the key wildlife species within RMNP.

The rangers were trained in using camera trap and distance sampling methods, skilled in data collection approaches using appropriate data sheets, Global Positioning System (GPS) and trap cameras to collect accurate data that shall be analyzed scientifically for management decision making.
© Happy Ali
Rangers trying out on using the smartphone to collect data after the training.