Eavesdropping on Cameroon’s poachers to save endangered primates

20 April 2016 Science News

20th April 2016| Claire Salisbury 

Researchers are using acoustic monitoring to tune into gunshots and track a most deadly predator – Africa’s wildlife poachers.

-Gathering data on poaching is challenging, not only due to the large areas that need to be covered by researchers, but also because much of that vast terrain is often composed of impenetrable forests, mountain thickets and wetlands.
-An international team of scientists working in Cameroon’s Korup National Park recently completed a study in which they recorded all the sounds heard over a 54 square kilometer (21 square mile) area for more than two-years to determine where and when gunshots were being fired.
-Data showed that hunting is highest in the park early in the week, as poachers ready for Saturday markets; it occurs year-round, but peaks during the November-to-March dry season, and before major holidays. Preferred hunting locations were also located.
-The data collected could be valuable to Korup law enforcement officials as they try to target limited funding and personnel to most effectively track and curtail poachers. Acoustic monitoring could be very useful in preserves around the globe, to protect great apes, elephants and other heavily poached species.

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