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Wildlife Authority Adopts Mobile App to Report Problem Animal Incidences

The Chief Warden of Kidepo Valley National Park Samuel Amanya says that the App is an Open Data Kit; a free, open-source suite of tools that allows data collection using Android mobile devices and data submission to an online server, even without an Internet connection.
Sub County LCIII Chairpersons try out the ODK appplications at Kidepo Valley park headquaters in Karenga district Photo By Dan M Komakech

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The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has adopted a mobile application for reporting incidents of problem animals in communities surrounding the Kidepo Valley National Park.

The Chief Warden of Kidepo Valley National Park Samuel Amanya says that the App is an Open Data Kit; a free, open-source suite of tools that allows data collection using Android mobile devices and data submission to an online server, even without an Internet connection.

According to Amanya, the App has features of assigning GPS coordinates and the instant location where the stray or problem animal has been discovered, particulars of the affected persons, the magnitude and type of damage experienced including crops or property destroyed, human injuries or death incidences. 

He hopes that the use of the App will abate human-wildlife conflicts in over 4,200 villages in the 17 sub-counties that lie within the six districts surrounding the park and Karenga Community Wildlife areas.The sub-counties are Karenga, Kawanga, Lubalangit, Lokori and the town councils of Karenga and Kidepo in Karenga district; Alerek in Abim district and Orom in Kitgum district.

Other areas of concern also include Loleliya South, Omiya Pachua and Lapono sub counties in Agago district; Kaceri in Kotido district; Kamiyon, Kapedo, Sangar, Kawalakol and Kapedo Town council in Kaabong district.

The App has now been installed on newly acquired smartphones that have been distributed to the LCIII Chairpersons of the 17-selected sub-counties where the technology is being piloted. Amanya says once the data is collected, the local leaders will then notify the park authority to dispatch their field staff or a drone to the incident area in response. Once found effective, it will be rolled out to other neighbouring areas.  

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The Karenga Resident District Commissioner Salim Kumakech reiterates that the technology will go a long way in lessening the human-wildlife conflict that has seen livelihoods of community and their property destroyed and lives lost by these wandering animals from the park.

Kumakech says the technology is one of the efficient and alternative ways of sending information that will reduce the amount of time that the park authorities would take in response and also limit incidents where people have always been reporting unnecessary cases.

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Cue out….for action.”//

Amanya says the gathered data by the ODK application will also be essential in informing the government on the magnitude of damage incurred by problem animals for future compensation and also identifying other related issues threatening wildlife including poaching, illegal wildlife trade and habitat destruction amidst others. 

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