We ask ourselves questions such as, what happens when one day you visit the Zoo, the National park and you find that you are surrounded by a great cloud of silence!. No birds, No insects and most of all No apes. How would you feel? Myself I don’t know and don’t want to imagine the immediate horrors that my mind will be preoccupied with.
Great apes are of diverse species from Gorillas, Bonobo, Orangutans and chimpanzees; they are the only immediate ancestors that we humans have. We burn down their forest; a home they have stayed in for more than a 100 decades. We humans have proved to be inhumane with a recent incident being the Borneo human conflict where the community set up a tree on fire and burned the orangutans which succumbed to level 3 burns (http://us.foto.news.viva.co.id/read/7864-evakuasi-orangutan-sekarat). Are we being protectors of the earth as God had instructed man, I guess not we are clouded by our inner selfish gains and egoistic approaches.
We slash and burn forest in the name of agricultural expansion; we do not ask ourselves questions what will happen to the animals in the forests. Ask yourself? What will happen to them? I know that the Gorillas of the DR Congo are suffering; they are deprived of peaceful and tranquil coexistence. Their lives are threatened by our uncompassionate actions. The warlords are seeking them for food and skin.
This begs the question what can we do to save this peaceful and majestic creatures. They deserve protection at most. Organizations such as the GRASP-UNEP (www.un-grasp.org), Borneo orangutan survival foundation and LAGA Cameroon are just but a few of those institutions set up to protect the great apes.
How can technology save the great apes? In my opinion there are several approaches that can be employed to enable protection of the great apes. One of the approaches is Smart Collaring; Using accelerometer technology and GPS.This approach not only tracks the location of an animal but also tells us about every move that it makes. Collaring is used to understand the behavior of certain animal species in the hope of reducing conflicts between humans and animals and help in improving wildlife management and interaction.
We can borrow some technology that is being used for elephant conservation called Animal Texting. The technology is currently being used with Kenyan elephant’s conservation in Laikipia district with the aim to cut the scale of the human wildlife conflicts. This enables elephant’s tracking hence those nearby communities are warned about an approaching elephant. We can use the same for Great apes conservation. Secondly, use of camera traps to be able to document the major causes of animal population decline and incidences of conflict where they occur.
Using scare tools and tactics such as alarms and shock collars, this employed on the male apes to tame them and restrict their range of movement, and thus cut human ape conflict. Let’s use available technology and save the Great Apes.