Using technology in conservation solutions
Ruvuma Corridor, Tanzania
The ERM Foundation has been working since 2013 with the PAMS Foundation, a Tanzania-based conservation group. PAMS is working to reduce rates of elephant poaching in the unprotected Ruvuma wildlife corridor, which connects the Niassa Reserve in Mozambique with the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania.
For two years, ERM's first EMEA regional flagship project focused on the Ruvuma elephants. During this time, a team of specialists developed a Geographical Information System (GIS) and website that enables PAMS to monitor and track elephant movements and instances of poaching. The ERM team also designed an app for simple mobile phone handsets that enables local field scouts to input and upload in real time field data for the GIS. Previously, this data was recorded and uploaded manually, which was extremely time- and labor-intensive. The ERM project manager, John Lee, also provided in-country training for the PAMS team, to ensure this new technology is used to its best advantage.
ERM employees across the EMEA region raised $55,000 (including company matching funds) to support this project. The funds were used to provide the salary of a designated GIS site manager, purchase a new four-wheel drive vehicle to improve mobility in the field and upgrade the solar and communications infrastructure within the remote project location. This funding was over and above the pro bono time set aside for the GIS project.
This project was featured at the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) Conference in Italy to highlight the use of digital technology to facilitate the collation and use of data for decision-makers in a more timely manner. This presentation received significant interest from academics, other companies and those working in the conservation field.
Following the success of this initial project, the EMEA region has now selected its next regional flagship project, which is looking to address the declining population of migratory birds.