Are we making progress? Maybe we should rap more…

David Curnick

In the ten years since the last World Parks Congress, the number of protected areas has doubled. Good news! However, this increase in the protected area coverage hasn’t halted the rapid loss of the world’s vertebrates. A recent report by the Living Planet Index shows that we have lost half of all vertebrates since 1970. So whatever conservation is being implemented, we clearly need to be doing more!

Given the emphasis that this congress has on protected areas, what more can we be doing? Much debate here has stemmed around questions such as: Do we have enough protected areas? Are the ones we already have effective? Where should we locate future protected areas? The consensus seems that we need more, we need them to be bigger, and we need them to be better quality.

It is also recognised that we need to be better at communicating our messages. Engaging people through interactive online tools and smart phone applications is one approach adopted by some. But here at the congress, exhibitors have taken to donning tiger costumes, playing with drones, reading poetry and even rapping, yes that’s right a RAP by Baba Brinkman, to get their message across. Of course, the provision of free food and drink has also proved a popular method to lure congress attendees into your event…

One of the events that I have been leading is the demonstration of ZSL’s Instant Wild system. A combination of camera traps and surveillance equipment, this system can give park managers a real advantage in the battle against poachers and can also help them monitor the biodiversity in their parks.  The biggest benefit of the Instant Wild system is that it can be set up in remote locations for long periods of time without the need for regular maintenance. Instead, pictures and data are sent to your laptop via satellite allowing you to monitor your system from the comfort of your office.

Instant Wild camera trap picture from Kenya
A camera trap image from Instant Wild

This technology as already been successfully deployed by colleagues and partners in Kenya and Antarctica and, judging by the interest here at WPC, it will soon be deployed in many other countries.

I am tweeting regularly from the conference, so for live updates follow me at @d_curnick, @ZSLConservation or follow the congress at #WorldParksCongress.


Read the previous blog entry: World Parks Congress: What is it and why are we here?

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