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TANZANIA to use TZs. 100m/ to finance wildebeest counting in Serengeti

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ARUSHA (TANZANIA DAILY NEWS)  — NUMBER of wildebeests in Tanzania’s second largest national park, the Serengeti, will be determined in the new census that starts this week.

Arusha-based Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) in collaboration with other global environment and wildlife conservation organisations will execute the four-points aerial satellite counts in the park at the cost of 100m/-.

TAWIRI Director General Dr Simon Mduma said here over the weekend that they will use four different methods and sites in conducting the Gnus count.

“We shall collect between 3,000 and 3,500 satellite images that will form the first basis for ordinary counting; secondly, we will feed the images into computers and experts from the UK-based Glasgow University will count them digitally under the supervision of three professors,” explained Dr Mduma.

He named the dons who will foresee the digital counting as Professors Joson Matthiopoulos, Dan Haydom Markus Borner and Dr Grant Hopcraft.

The same satellite images will be dispatched to scientists worldwide for experts to make their voluntary counting under the ‘Zooniverse’ platform coordinated by Dr David Moyer, David Lloyd-Jones and Howard Frederick.

According to Dr Mduma, this is the first time the use of satellite imagery backed with digital and analogue counting from all corners of the world is being used and it will provide accurate results at minimum cost.

The whole project is funded by Friedkin Conservation Fund (FCF) and according to the Chief Conservator at Serengeti, Mr William Mwakilema, it will help the Tanzania National Park perform better in conservation of ungulates currently estimated at 1.5 million as per 2015 census.

“Wildebeests are actually what makes the Serengeti; the legendary migration is 90 per cent made up of the Gnus, in addition to zebras,” he pointed out.

Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) Country Manager Gerald Bigurube said the society has pooled in 50,000 US dollars (over 100m/-) from the Friedkin Conservation Fund to bankroll the initiative.

“We conduct this exercise once in every three years, but with the new method the costs keep coming down,” he said. —— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: April 23, 2018 at 02:07PM

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