By Kevin Heath
I’ve just launched a new feature at Wildlife News that I hope people will contribute to. It is the launch a map of rhino poaching incidents that people can plot and report on. Hopefully reports will also contain a photograph that show the devastation that poachers can cause to an animal. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.
I’ve thought long before launching the feature in case it could be used by rhino poachers to find animals. After a chat to some rangers recently in Africa they allayed all those fears. As they say the poachers have their own networks of informants and spotters. A Google map plot that is a few days – or even hours – old will not be of any value or interest to them.
The map though could be useful in trying to raise awareness about the current crisis in rhino poaching. At the moment the best information seems to be weekly figures from South Africa and the occasional report of a rhino loss elsewhere. Sadly the numbers and statistics don’t do justice to highlighting the slaughter that is happening to this iconic species at the moment.
What I hope the new map will do is move the poaching of rhino away from being just numbers and graphs to being personal with each rhino killed being highlighted on an individual basis and if possible graphically with a photo.
At the moment the plotting of rhino poaching on the map is really set up for desktop and tablet computers but it is possible to contribute or report a rhino poaching incident using a smartphone – it is easier with large screen phones. If the map proves popular then I’ll get an Android app developed to allow easier reporting. More....