Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Whyone?

SAN Parks threatens to ban wildlife 'Apps'

13 posts in this topic

An entirely predictable problem IMHO, but now this particular genie is out of the bottle, I struggle to see how the authorities are going to get it back in?!

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36489080

 

All the more reason to seek out remote parks with no cell coverage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry - could someone in admin. change the title from 'Kruger..' to 'South African National Parks...' please?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was in Kruger in 2013, this app had just been launched. People using this app and consequently speeding to glamor animal sightings was already becoming a problem then. @Whyone As you say, this was an entirely predictable problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a safari-goer, doesn't that take the fun out of it? Isn't part of the thrill the anticipation of not knowing what you'll see when, what may be around the next corner?
As a guide, doesn't that lessen the importance of my skill as a spotter? Knowing the animals in the area I work?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Title edited as requested @@Whyone?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think you kindly @@wilddog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a safari-goer, doesn't that take the fun out of it? Isn't part of the thrill the anticipation of not knowing what you'll see when, what may be around the next corner?

As a guide, doesn't that lessen the importance of my skill as a spotter? Knowing the animals in the area I work?

 

It's how a lot of the lodges work too, but they use radio systems to call each other in. And in the private game reserves around Kruger they often drop a tracker to follow tracks. Once he's found the animals he'll call in the guide with guests on their vehicle so they don't off-road unnecessarily. I would not enjoy such game drives...

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry guys but I don't think either one of those who oppose these apps has ever used them, so there seems to be a lot of guessing but very little knowin. And how exactly do "the authorities" know that a dead animal on the road was killed by a speeding car (and not by a car which was obeying the speed limits)? And even if they did know that the majority of road kills were caused by speeding cars, how do they know that these cars were speeding to reach a particular sighting? And even if they did know that all speeding cars were racing to reach certain sightings, how do they know the drivers had heard about the sightings by an app (and not from some fellow drivers)? And even more so: where did those visitors who complained get their knowledge from?

 

I have been using the Latest Sightings pretty much from when it was first introduced and knowing that I am (in this community) one of the most frequent visitors of KNP I am sure I am in a position to state some facts:

 

1. A KNP Sightings Group usually consists of a maximum of 20 people who actively visit the park, that means in average 1 party per 1.000 km².

 

2. Cell phone coverage in KNP is rudimentary, I'd estimate that less than 10% of the park's area has reception; these are the areas closest to the camps, that means 90% of the time people are driving around they have no access to the App.

 

3. On busy days I would estimate that maybe 50 sightings are posted, that means in average 4 per hour, again spread over 20.000 km².

 

4. A lot of the postings are "doubles", though; others regard animals that most people would never specifically drive to (elephants, buffaloes, hyenas, etc). Basically, there are only four "interesting": animals: lions, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs. Among these lion sightings are by far the most frequently shared, the three other animals are extremely rare in KNP (wild dogs, cheetahs) or very elusive (leopard). Now we all know that lions tend to spend their entire days at pretty much the same spot, so it doesn't really matter if these spots are shared by an App or by "mouth-to-mouth"-propaganda.

 

Speeding has always been a major problem in KNP, long before this app was invented. However, the majority of speeders are park workers, muss less so park visitors (another fact, not wild guessing). If the park management is eager to attack this problem, they should start increasing the fines, maybe even banning visitors or fire employees instead of blaming an App which has done a lot of good in the past. And as @@egilio has pointed out correctly: the radio calls among professional guides are of much greater concern, because radios cover the entire park and not just 10% of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Sorry Ice, but your statistical breakdown assumes that visitors are evenly distributed throughout the park. We both know that's far from the case. The vast majority of visitors are concentrated in those areas closest to camp, those sections with reception.

 

Yellowstone has had similar problems with such apps

http://goodnature.nathab.com/smartphone-apps-pinpoint-wildlife-sightings-in-yellowstone-but-is-that-a-good-idea/

Edited by ellenhighwater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Sorry @@ellenhighwater, I am not sure where you travel but I certainly don't see the logic why people should concentrate in areas close to camps. The cell phone reception in KNP ceases to exist about 2-3 km behind the camp's gates. According to your logic we should hardly see anybody else once we pass this imaginary border. Too bad that this isn't true. And obviously you cannot compare a place like Yellowstone with a park like Kruger, simply because pretty much all official roads in Yellowstone have continous cell phone coverage.

Edited by ice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

In front of me I have an (archived) list of those sightings that were reported through the app during our second to last stay in Kruger (October 2014). I would estimate that about 10% of the sightings took place close to camp, the rest outside the cell phone reception area. This big majority of sightings was usually reported hours after they initially took place.

Edited by ice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

People shouldn't concentrate close to camps, but they do - at the least it's where the come from and return to for every drive thus increasing the traffic in those areas. My point is the density of visitors in Kruger is much much higher in the areas around camps than in the northern corners of the park, so saying there's x people per square kilometer throughout the park isn't accurate, that's all. Even a sighting that is outside of cell coverage is going to be picked up by people in camp, where there is coverage, sending them out to visit said sighting.

 

If sightings are reported later, that seems like a good compromise and no different than the old fashioned sightings books in many parks. I just worry what will happen if that is no longer the case.

Edited by ellenhighwater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason why most sightings are reported much later than they were initially seen is technical: because those who want to report them have to wait until they reach areas with reception again.

 

Yes, there are more vehicles per km² in the south, no doubt about it. However, there is neither any doubt that the density of those animals that do get reported (lions, cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs) is also much higher in the south than in the north. And once again, if you have a little bit of "bush sense" you will not head out again (or change direction) if somebody has reported a leopard that crossed a road or wild dogs that chased impalas, less so if they did hours ago.

 

By the way, I have spoken to the app's CEO yesterday: SanParks has neither contacted them nor did they react to the contact Latest Sightings tried to establish, instead they chose to make a press release. This behaviour speaks for itself, at least imho

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.