Highlighting the career of Prof Willem van Riet, directing innovative conservation initiatives in Africa, illustrating his experiences and approach through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

An all-inclusive approach to conservation was instigated by numerous adventures on wild rivers in the 60’s and developed through academic research at Universities in Philadelphia (USA) and Pretoria (South Africa). GIS software, data and processes were harnessed throughout his career in support of planning, scientific analyses and fundraising.  Projects and programmes will be illustrated through a number themes. This approach was implemented during his years on the SANParks Board and on transboundary initiatives in Southern Africa during his 10 years as the CEO of the Peace Parks Foundation. Recently he has functioned as a consulted through the Swedish entity (Transboundary Conservation Foundation).

"I hope that the review of these conservation projects, as a journey of discovery through the use of GIS and maps, will be of assistance to conservation development in many parts of the world. I would like to iterate that the content of this site reflects my own personal point of view and is based on my personal experiences."

Tuesday, 06 October 2015 07:03

13 - Elephant Poaching On Industrial Scale

It is truly unbelievable that countries and governments cannot protect their natural resources and especially their wildlife. The central African states such as Kenya and Tanzania are very much dependant, from tourism point of view, on the image and the reality of their wildlife numbers. These resources cannot come back once destroyed, to move and relocate wild life is very difficult and expensive and they really have to migrate back once destroyed. This has become very difficult due the fast changes in land use and the ever increasing isolation of the wildlife populations. It seems that the Chinese, politicians and the underfunding of parks staff together is a recipe for destruction.

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Drone technology, combined with GIS, is an extremely practical and useful approach to combating poaching, developed using innovation in all its forms. Tracking the roads and proximity of rhinos is what GIS and drones could do so well. Why do all the NGOs, who are raising funds under the emotional cloud created by the enormous publicity generated by rhinos, not band together and support such a project?  This has enormous potential and is so innovative. Just what is needed in this period of reduced hope.