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Cirad

New technologies: mobile data collection system implication for wildlife management in Central Africa

Palla F., Le Bel S., Chavernac D., Cornélis D.. 2016. In : Plinio Sist (ed.), Stéphanie Carrière (ed.), Pia Parolin (ed.), Pierre-Michel Forget (ed.). Tropical ecology and society reconciliating conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Program and abstracts. Storrs : ATBC, p. 310-310. Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC 2016), 2016-06-19/2016-06-23, Montpellier (France).

If wildlife is considered as a renewable natural resource, for many rural Africans the occurrence of human wildlife conflict (HWC) overshadows expected outcomes from conservation and co-management initiatives. To reduce the magnitude of HWC, modern approaches deal with problem animals that cause conflicts while increasing the level of tolerance in the affected human populations. Assessing the local impact of HWC is part of this mitigation package, the objective been to provide timely information to adapt strategies and actions as data indicates what works and why. Lack of communication and trust between wildlife authorities and people concerned by HWC makes the effectiveness of the reporting poor, which raises the question of selecting the most appropriate technology for a real-time monitoring scheme with the capacity to inform decision-makers and improve the understanding of conflicts. To explore the feasibility of HWC monitoring, a series of tests was conducted in central Africa with KoBoCollect, an application from the KoBoToolbox an open source of tools for data collection and analysis based on OpenDataKit. With this application, data were collected using Smartphone on and off-line then synchronized into a database. Involving a regional HWC working group the 5W&H method was chosen to develop data trees of the key information needed to understand HWC problems. The 30+ variables were selected to develop an electronic form and responses to questions been facilitated by multiple choice responses with checkbox options. After a 9 month field test from April to December 2015, more than 300 electronic submissions were collected from Congo (42%), DRC (28%), Gabon (19%) and Cameroun (7%). Not surprisingly the elephant is the species most often involved in HWC (51%) followed by the hippo (11%) and rodents (11%), the other 11 species involved in HWC playing a minor role. If human casualties were rare (2%), the most predominant impact was crop raiding (82%). Mitigation measures were assessed according to the set of solutions of an existing HWC toolbox. Only making noise (33%) or fire (26%) appeared to be solutions mainly applied by local communities. Tested also to monitor hunting pressure in the same region KoBoCollect appears to be an easy to use tool to collect data at low cost in remote areas but questions remain on how to promote and popularize such an approach to fulfill management needs at landscape, national and regional levels. (Texte intégral)

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