Mobile app enables Kenyans to become wildlife conservation actors

The National Museums of Kenya have launched an app designed to help the country’s wildlife authorities track and log rare and common mammals and record whether the species and their habitat are thriving.

At the Soysambu Conservancy in Nakuru, southern Kenya, tourists come to witness the rich biodiversity.

When John Perret, the owner of a camel safari, pulls out his mobile phone, he doesn’t just take a picture.

He actually uses the Makenya, Mammal Atlas Kenya app that allows users to record every detail of every mammal they spot.

“This app now helps us map exactly where these animals are and if they are in trouble we can get the authorities to come and help us and it gives me a great opportunity to help the tourist.” to show exactly where they are,” says the operator.

“This will be a continuous count and we will know how well our animals are doing,” he also notes.

In addition to the benefits for tourism and animal welfare organizations, the free app can be a tool to raise awareness. Researcher Simon Musila wants the general public to take this opportunity to positively influence species conservation.

“We also want to encourage the general public to get involved in mammal conservation, and one of the fundamental ways that they can actually do that is whenever they see mammals anywhere they submit a report, this is one of the most important opportunities for them to get involved mammals,” he says.

Identify the best breeding conditions

According to the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS), around 25,000 animal and 7000 plant species have been recorded so far.

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If an inventory of the species is important, collecting additional data that will make it possible to monitor the living conditions of the animals is another goal of the app.

“It will also include recording breeding conditions, particularly when you see an endangered species and see that it has young, which is quite encouraging because we will know that this species will actually survive in the environment,” says Musila.

“[…] It will be a game changer because it will also capture the habitat type in which this species is found,” adds the researcher from the National Museum of Kenya enthusiastically.

“When the habitat is in good condition, we know that the endangered species will survive in that particular habitat over the long term.”

Indeed, it is important to identify conditions in which animals can still thrive, or at least cope. The effects of drought in parts of Kenya are threatening species like rhinos.

The Mammal Committee of Nature Kenya, National Museums of Kenya and collaborators created the app.