Science

A Review of the CyberTracker programme in Kruger National Park

Prepared by PS Goodman & D Grossman

On behalf of:

DEUTSCHE GESELLSCHAFT FÜR TECHNISCHE ZUSAMMENARBEIT (GTZ)

GTZ_logo and Kruger_bokkop
SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL PARKS (SANPARKS)

Summary

  1. CyberTracker became an accepted and useful part of Section Ranger operational equipment prior to restructuring, despite initial resistance in some quarters and incomplete ‘corporate level’ buy-in.
  2. Redeployment of the CT has not happened after restructuring, only 1 section (out of 22) is operational in this regard.
  3. The main use value of CT has been in planning and evaluating Field Ranger Patrols; data collection was largely unfocussed and ‘nice to have’ rather than objective or Key Performance Area-related.
  4. The apparent absence of a Park-wide data and information strategy and system needs to be addressed before focussed data gathering using CT commences. However, day to day use for patrol planning and management should re-commence as soon as possible.
  5. Equipment needs to be upgraded, each section needs to be adequately equipped, and high level responsibility assigned for the future success of the programme.
  6. Training, including refresher training, is needed.
  7. The Director of KNP has expressed support for the future use of C.T in providing information needed for decision making in KNP.

Introduction and terms of reference

CyberTracker - assisted monitoring was implemented with the financial and logistic assistance of GTZ on a trial basis into the Kruger National Park early in 2000. This pilot introduction phase was scheduled to end with a review and report on the project in June 2001. However the skills and experience loss associated with the retrenchment of a large proportion of a total of 22 Section Rangers in the Park (Operation Prevail – early 2001), caused a hiatus in the project whilst retrenched staff were replaced. The project resumed on a hugely scaled down basis early in 2002 with only two sections (of 22) participating on a more or less voluntary or self motivated basis.

This investigation commissioned by GTZ replaces the proposed June 2001 review and has as its deliverable, a document which reviews the use and functionality of the CyberTracker monitoring system in the KNP. More specifically it aims to:

  • Evaluate the state of equipment provided by GTZ to the project.
  • Evaluate the capacity and competence of CyberTracker use by Section and Field Rangers.
  • Evaluate the extent to which the CyberTracker is being used for field data collection.
  • Evaluate the extent to which collected data are being stored, analysed and used in the management of KNP.
  • Evaluate the feedback structures in place to get synthesised results and recommendations implemented at the field level.
  • Review the purpose and goals of the monitoring programme initiated and serviced using CyberTracker technology.
  • Compare the KNP CyberTracker programme with other CyberTracker monitoring programmes elsewhere.

The consultants undertook the field investigation component of this review during the first week of November (see Appendix 1 interview schedule), and present our findings and recommendations in the sections to follow. Judith Kruger in particular is thanked for facilitating the programme during the field visit.

Findings and evaluation

Purpose and goal of the CyberTracker monitoring system

Key to the success of any project which aims to set up a long term monitoring system is a clear and concise purpose and goal for the programme. The only documented reference to a goal for the CyberTracker project in the KNP which we could find, is in the minutes of a meeting held on the 3rd March 2000 and is stated as follows:

The "long term goals of the official CyberTracker project in the KNP are for:

  • A comprehensive database to be set up in Skukuza in which all officials of KNP and visiting researchers will have access to a wide variety of data stored by section and field rangers by means of CyberTracker." …

Remarkably, despite the recognition during the workshop held on the 18th of May 2001, that "CyberTracker usage needed to be planned against a clear set of goals and objectives" this has to the best of our knowledge not emerged in a written form for this programme and when questioned, none of the relevant people interviewed could articulate one verbally either. This must be viewed as a critical weakness of this programme and to a large extent is probably to blame for the poor delivery of results on this project.

In our view, the long term goal quoted above should be viewed more as a long term vision, which requires refinement and strengthening through the development of a specific set of goals, which in turn should then be broken down into a manageable set of objectives. In addition, we feel that the collection of field data using the CyberTracker should be seen as only a single component of the overall data collection and information strategy of the Park. However, and this is at the crux of the matter, there seemingly exists no coherent information strategy for the Park. Data and information do not appear to be looked on as a strategic resource by Park management (including research), and are dealt with in a rather ad hoc data-centric (as opposed to a data and information needs) manner. Experience has shown that this "shotgun" approach often leads to a mass of unused or unusable data, which clogs data storage systems and ultimately ends in some ‘data graveyard’. The need for the CyberTracker programme to be used as part of a strongly focussed, systematic collection of objective-related data for feedback to the decision-making processes in the Park cannot be over-emphasized.

It is our further view that unless an information strategy aimed at the critical information needs of park management is developed and implemented with the full support and commitment of management, the deployment of a data collection tool like CyberTracker will fail in the long term (see Recommendation 1). NB This does not however detract from its proven value in the planning and management of field patrols.

Capacity and competence

Prior to Operation Prevail, 18 of the 22 Section Rangers in the Park had been trained and shown themselves to be competent to use and maintain the CyberTracker, download the information onto their local section PC’s and interpret and use the information for improving local section level management decisions. There was undoubtedly an initial resistance and reluctance to the adoption of CyberTracker by some, since it was in many instances perceived to be adding extra work to an already overloaded Section Ranger’s work schedule. A strength of the CyberTracker package however, is that once the often computer shy and illiterate Section Ranger had overcome initial fears of this technological approach, appreciated the ease with which the data could be viewed and analysed and seen the utility of the results, the maintenance of the monitoring programme became self perpetuating. A further strength of the package, is the great ease with which information can be captured, downloaded, stored and previewed when compared to the equivalent paper based system. This however creates a problem of its own by increasing the temptation to collect data of little importance or value (as opposed to ‘critical data’) which, in turn puts strain on hardware and software storage capabilities, and personnel resources from an analytical perspective. There is further concern that the collection of large volumes of field data will detract from one of the most important functions of the Field Ranger viz. ensuring the integrity of the section. Clear guidelines on what data should be collected and reported on are essential (see Recommendation 2).

In addition to the training of Section Rangers, 3 to 4 Field Rangers per section had been trained and shown to be capable of using the CyberTracker for field data collection. Our discussions with Section and District Rangers and experiences from elsewhere indicate that this training is welcomed and sought after by the bulk of the Field Ranger corps, and the use of an instrument such as CyberTracker or even a GPS on it own adds considerable prestige to the person’s position. This general view was reinforced during interviews with field rangers currently still using the CyberTracker. There was in fact a sense of "one upmanship" and pride that this particular section was still using the technology which had virtually come to a standstill in the rest of the Park. The ‘hidden incentive’ in this case is self-actualisation of members of the field ranger corps, many of whom are literate but lacking in formal technical training.

Following Prevail, during which many persons at the Section Ranger level were retrenched, only about a quarter of 22 section rangers with training in the use of CyberTracker were retained in the services of the Park. This and the withdrawal of the equipment from the field during the staff movements associated with Prevail caused a hiatus in the programme from which it is still to recover. The bulk of Field Rangers have been retained on the staff of the Park, so these skills have to a large extent been retained. Subsequent to Prevail and in order to restart the monitoring programme, 50% of park Section Rangers have received training in the use of CyberTracker and currently, an estimated 25% of the 22 Section Rangers are deemed competent to manage and maintain a CyberTracker monitoring Programme. Naturally, once the programme has been fully rationalised, (see Recommendations 1, 2 and 4) new and refresher training will need to be instituted where appropriate (see Recommendation 3).

In a programme such as this, it is important to not only look at the competence and capacity of the organisation to collect and store the data at a local level, but also assess the competence and capacity to process and communicate information at the corporate level. In this respect, the Data Manager, who resides in the Scientific Services section has demonstrated a high degree of competence (and must be complimented for this) at resolving the technical issues associated with the adaptation of CyberTracker software to suit local conditions, problem solving and mentoring management staff on its implementation. This, together with the inputs of the previous "champion" (now retrenched), have been the major strengths of the programme in the Park to date. However, it has not been undertaken without placing considerable strain on this resource, and a weakness of the existing and any future programme in the Park will be the capacity that the park has for processing large volumes of routinely collected monitoring data to a point that it is regularly available and easily accessible to managers at all appropriate levels in the organisation. This could be a critical weakness for the whole programme and must be addressed at the outset (see Recommendation 4).

Extent of use

Since Prevail, the use of Cybertacker technology has been limited to three of the 22 sections in the Park, the Tshokwane, Malelane and Lower Sabi. In Tshokwane Section, the Section Ranger is using C.T. units in his possession (two units) to their full potential, and is fully committed to the programme, to the extent that he is equipping his remaining two daily patrols with C.T. instrumentation. In addition, he is utilising the synthesised information that emanates from the basic analyses provided by the C.T. software intelligently in the planning of his surveillance and monitoring activities. Interestingly, this individual manages the old paper based system (written diary) in parallel with the electronic option, and is fully convinced of the utility of C.T. Furthermore, he is of the opinion that if he were to go back to an exclusively paper based system his effectiveness and efficiency would decline considerably. His commitment to the use of the C.T. is shared by the majority of his field rangers, who were also interviewed. Feedback provided to field rangers enhances their understanding of the use of this technology and has clearly increased patrol efficiency, ensuring fuller coverage of the area. The strength here is that it is being driven by a capable, responsible and motivated individual, who takes pride in his work and is continually striving to improve his performance. It is important to recognise that this is a function of the individuals’ character and not solely the tools he is using for his work.

The collection of data in the Malelane and Lower Sabi sections are both in their infancy (2-3 months of operations). Regrettably we were unable to interview the Section Rangers from these two sections as they were absent during the time of our field visit, however we were able to ascertain that the two C.T. units allocated to Lower Sabi were currently unserviceable and undergoing repairs.

Interviews with section and district rangers in the north and far north of the Park indicated frustration at the collapse of the programme after Prevail, and a sharp keenness to restart the programme. A common theme was that the C.T. programme assisted in planning and obtaining better coverage of the area of responsibility by providing visual representation of spatial coverage by patrols. Field staff were thereby encouraged, using C.T outputs (plots of routes covered), to extend patrols beyond the usual routes to ensure complete coverage.

Response of professional biologists and research workers has been generally lukewarm despite early exposure to the technology. To our knowledge none of the professional officers in the Scientific Services section is using the technology for routine data collection. One researcher we interviewed had attempted to use C.T. for assessing elephant damage to trees, but had reverted to the use of paper data capture sheets for reasons of reliability of data storage and flexibility of data capture. She did however express the opinion that should her work be much more routine, she would again revert to electronic field data capture. This highlights both a strength and weakness of C.T. as a field data capture tool. Its strength is the instant capture in electronic form of field data thus averting the need for the laborious capture of data from field forms, a step that can introduce errors into the captured data. The weakness is the lack of flexibility the C.T. and most data loggers offer in the capture of non-routine data. Another officer indicated willingness to use the technology for capturing and processing veld condition data, currently laboriously processed by hand.

In terms of the current levels of implementation of C.T. assisted monitoring, the programme in the Park has largely failed. Apart from reasons associated with staff disruptions at the time of Prevail, there are a number of factors that have contributed to this, most of which emerged in our discussions with senior staff. C.T. in the KNP was lobbied for, introduced and managed by innovative and energetic individuals (champions) at the Section Ranger level. While some seniors in the hierarchy were included in the discussions and negotiations around the implementation of the C.T. project in the Park, there was at the time no committed buy in, by middle and senior management to the extent that we detected a definite ‘corporate apathy’ at higher management levels towards the programme. In addition, the need and utility of the information that could potentially emanate from the programme had not been firmly established in the management executive, and consequently with the loss of the main drivers of the monitoring programme during Prevail, leaderless, the programme all but collapsed. To add to this, during the administrative confusion associated with restructuring in the Park no budget allocation was made for C.T. in the 2002/03 financial year, making it very difficult to re-initiate and support the programme during the post restructuring period. Clearly a weakness of the past programme is the lack of a senior person in Conservation Services, who has the mandate and responsibility for the project’s management (see Recommendation 5).

During our discussions with the Director Mr. Mabunda, he made it quite clear that he was in full support of the C.T. enabled monitoring programme, that it should provide objective-related information needed at the executive level, and that he would hold the incoming Head of Conservation Services Responsible for the management and maintenance of the programme.

Data storage, analysis and use

All data received from Section Rangers by the Data Analyst has been stored in a single Access database located on the server at Skukuza. Limited analyses have been undertaken and the information when it was available supplied to the Mike Programme (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephant). In addition, summaries of tree damage by elephant, water availability and rare game sightings have been made and forwarded to relevant people in the organisation. However there is a reluctance to undertake more detailed analyses due to the incompleteness of the data set. What is quite clear though, is the value a properly focussed monitoring programme would have to conservation managers and research scientists in the Park. Current analyses represent only a small fraction of what could be undertaken.

On a positive note the Section Ranger from the Tshokwane section demonstrated the storage and summarisation of data from his section on his PC and explained the use that it had been put to in the day to day management of his section. This clearly demonstrated that the data if correctly collected, downloaded and managed at the local level was easily accessed by the Section Ranger in his region.

It is quite natural to assume that data from this project should be imported into the general database for the Park. However, on enquiry, it was found that such an entity did not exist and neither did a general data model for information in the Park. Currently, data from a variety of sources and projects are stored in completely separate Access databases. While a concerted effort has been made to normalise individual databases and standardise fields between them, these databases have as yet not been merged into a single normalised data structure. The approach being taken to achieve this is to look at existing data collection efforts and databases, refine these and then develop a general data model based on what is currently in place (i.e. a data-centric approach). While this has probably been the most pragmatic approach up until now, it will not result in an enduring data model which focuses on strategic information for the Park. On the eve of commencing with a major CyberTracker data collection programme in the Park that could easily overload the information management and storage resources of the Park, it is critical that an efficient (fully normalised) needs orientated information model be developed and implemented for the Park (see Recommendation 6).

Information feedback loops

In order to evaluate this we have constructed what we see as an information flow diagram based on the existing field staff structures in the Park (Figure 1).

Kruger_Fig1
Figure 1. Idealised major information flows (solid line) and feedback loops (dashed line) for data and information based on existing staff structures in the Kruger National Park.

In our review, it was quite clear that these data flows and feedbacks had not been clearly articulated nor in large part implemented for this project. Where data were actively being collected and a functional CyberTracker monitoring system was in place (e.g. Tshokwane Section), information feed back to Field Rangers was taking place and daily work programmes planned accordingly.

This confirms the value of CT at the section level and reinforces the need for its rapid redeployment, while an information management system is implemented.

The information flow from Section Ranger to District Ranger, Wildlife Advisor, Head Conservation Services to the Executive and corresponding feedback loops were clearly dysfunctional. Some information flow was taking place between Section Rangers and the CIS (Corporate Investigation Services), either in electronic (where C.T. was operational) but mostly via paper reports. Even this was not considered by CIS to be of an adequate standard. We are of the opinion that if there is one area in the Park where C.T. technology is absolutely essential to meet the standards required by CIS and the MIKE programme in particular, it is in the monitoring of wildlife security (see Recommendation 7). This is in part due to the rigorous patrol standards encouraged by the use of CT, as well as the increased area coverage obtained using CT data.

In addition the information is required by the Chief Executive and for external reporting purposes such as CITES. It is important to note that CIS reports directly to the National Parks CEO and not to the Director of the Park

Information flow from the ‘Park Information System’ to upper level management has not been formalised but was described in our interviews to be reactive. Similarly, the interaction between the Research Scientists and external researchers, and the ‘Park Information System’ was loose and unstructured. From this a definite sense can be gained that scientists were generally working as individuals, with unclear perspectives on how they should be contributing to the establishment of an interactive Park wide database.

State of Equipment

A CyberTracker equipment review was undertaken by staff and is dated 12 June 2002. (summarised in Table 1).

Table 1. Inventory of CyberTracker equipment in the Park as of 12 June 2002.

 

Item

Purchased

Unserviceable

Potentially Lost

Palm Units

38

2

0

Cables

36

12

0

GPS Units

36

4

6

Cradles

18

1

0

 

This inventory includes units donated by SAPPI and other organisations as well as those purchased using GTZ funds. In addition to this, large quantities of battery chargers and rechargeable batteries have been donated and purchased from Park budgets. In the life of the programme to date, a large number of cables (which seems to be the weakest link in the hardware) have been repaired or replaced. It is estimated that the average lifespan due to normal wear and tear of a complete unit is in the region of 2 – 3 years and so a normal replacement rate of 1/3 per year is indicated. As replacement of units takes place, new acquisition of C.T. equipment will be for units with a cableless integrated GPS, thus avoiding the disruptions caused by cable breakages. Field staff interviewed were particularly enthusiastic about this newer technology as they felt it would at once eliminate problems of cable breakage and limited battery life (the unit uses less power than the separate components).

The potential loss of 6 GPS units could not be confirmed since the person responsible for undertaking the equipment inventory was away during the site visit.

To date, follow up enquiries have not added new information in this regard. Replies are still awaited from staff contacted about the matter.

Currently the C.T. units are distributed in the field (Crocodile Bridge, Stols Neck, Pretorius Kop, Skukuza and Tshokwane), with 18 residing in the Scientific Services section offices at Skukuza.

Comparative assessment

Under the somewhat unusual managerial circumstances (Prevail and restructuring) that the C.T. programme was implemented in KNP, it is difficult to undertake a fair comparative analysis with other projects. Nevertheless, we did manage to obtain reports of the Namibian community based monitoring programme for comparative purposes and include comments based on personal experiences from other protected areas in the region and KwaZulu-Natal.

In Namibia, C.T. technology has been employed in the West Caprivi communal wildlife monitoring system and in the East Caprivi Conservancies. In both areas the monitoring system is implemented by members with low literacy levels and was based very strongly on need, appropriateness, sustainability and incentive. The West Caprivi operation pioneered community based monitoring in the region and developed a working paper based system before switching to C.T. enabled monitoring. In the East Caprivi, building on the experiences gained from the West Caprivi programme, monitoring was initiated using the C.T. technology. To sum these experiences up;

  1. In the West Caprivi, C.T. proved good for standardised fixed counts, raised the status of marginalised people and so had a good social impact. The sustainability of the hardware under these conditions was untested, but failures would have been very costly from a long-term monitoring perspective. Monitoring was abandoned as a result of political unrest, but this is likely resume once the latter is normalised.
  2. In the East Caprivi Conservancies, C.T. monitoring proved to be effective, but due to the logistics (large travel distances) technical support proved to be difficult and facilitators grappled with making the data accessible and relevant, which is not a problem that could be associated with the software.
  3. Nevertheless the software proved to be challenging for all.

In both East and West Caprivi, the incentive to collect the information lies in the benefit gained from the sustainable use of the wildlife resource. The local economy is driven by the hunting safari and tourism business. Without the information on population sizes and trends (in particular), hunting permits are not issued and so the benefits from this use not realised.

For the time being, these operations have moved back to a largely paper based monitoring system.

In KwaZulu-Natal protected areas, C.T. technology has not been employed in any of their field based monitoring operations. Probably the greatest deterrent has been the initial capital outlay associated with the purchase of the hardware. However numerous field monitoring systems have been implemented, some have endured (an excellent example being the rhino monitoring programmes in all rhino reserves) and many have failed. It is important to realise that success or failure has in most cases little to do with the means of data collection. Our experience has led to the following conclusions regarding the characteristics of an enduring and successful monitoring programme:

  1. It is driven by the need for information at more than one level in the management/research hierarchy.
  2. The information is required on a regular basis for decision making or mandatory reporting purposes.
  3. There is adequate capacity to store, curate, analyse and timeously report on the information.
  4. Synthesis and feedback to lower levels in the management hierarchy, particularly those levels that are involved in the collection of the data is absolutely essential to maintain motivation and accuracy.

In the Makuleke Region, use of the C.T. has been endorsed by the Makuleke CPA Executive Committee. Despite rather brief exposure to the technology, members of the EXCO have indicated that information on incursions into the area, poaching, and distribution of animals is important to them. Two Makuleke student rangers have been trained and are proficient in the use of the C.T, although problems with batteries have led to data loss. It is important that the use of C.T. in Makuleke Region is integrated into the KNP system, while recognising specialised information needs of the Joint Management Board and Makuleke Exco. The Makuleke CPA has agreed to support the material and subsistence costs associated with the use of the C.T., clearly demonstrating their commitment to the technology.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1: An information strategy and plan based on a Park level management decision and information needs analysis should be developed and implemented.

The Kruger National Park is without doubt South Africa’s largest and best known National Park, and over its 100 year history, has made a significant contribution to the Nation’s knowledge and approach to the management of protected areas, and the conservation of biodiversity in the country. In addition it has an ongoing and active monitoring and research programme which is actively building on this knowledge base. Bearing this in mind, it is almost inconceivable that the park should not have, and be implementing a strategic information plan. This will create the framework or overall perspective and focus for a data collection programme like CyberTracker and raise it from its current low impact low commitment status to a corporate necessity.

In preparation for this, management should develop a full set of biodiversity key performance areas, key performance indicators and criteria.

Recommendation 2: The minimum set of data to be collected must be tailored to meet the information requirements of the information strategy and mandated by the management hierarchy prior to the collection of 'ad hoc' data in the field. N.B: At the same time, C.T. should be rapidly re-installed in all sections in order to retain user competence and to facilitate patrol planning, and to continue feeding relevant data to CIS.

Many monitoring systems have accumulated data which are nice to collect and nice to have, but bear little relevance to management need or knowledge development. ‘Nice to have’ data sets are ultimately destined for the ‘Recycle Bin’ and waste resources in their collection, development and maintenance. However, in that the C.T has proved to be a ‘need to have’ in patrol planning and gathering of data e.g. for MIKE and security purposes, the deployment per se of CT should not necessarily wait for a corporate information strategy. Unnecessary delays will undoubtedly dampen existing enthusiasm.

The establishment of a C.T. user group, comprising representatives of Conservation Management, Scientific Services, CIS and corporate management, to guide the collection, processing, interpretation and use of CT data is worthy of consideration.

Recommendation 3: The skills deficiencies associated with the implementation of a CyberTracker enabled monitoring programme at the section/field level, need to be formally assessed and addressed through structured in-service training, mentorship and supervision.

The level of understanding of the workings of the CyberTracker package and basic PC skills levels are all highly variable at the Section and District Ranger levels. Minimum standards for these must be established and incorporated into the minimum qualifications required for Section Ranger post. Current skills deficiencies at the Section and District Ranger levels will need to be addressed for the successful implementation of the desired monitoring programme.

Recommendation 4: The human capacity requirements and shortfalls for managing and processing the collected data to their required end points, must be thoroughly researched and addressed prior to the re-initiation of the programme.

The management of a meaningful field based biological monitoring system is a huge undertaking in a Park the size of the KNP. The management and processing of daily data from four to five field patrols in each of 22 sections will require human and hardware resources not currently available in the organisation. This must be addressed to ensure the success of the programme.

Recommendation 5: The overall responsibility for the management and implementation of monitoring systems being undertaken by Conservation Services staff, must be vested in a Line Function person at an appropriate (park wide) level of authority.

The monitoring of natural phenomena in any system requires support and active involvement at all relevant managerial levels in the organisation. The striking finding about this programme in the KNP, is the lack of any single person at a high enough level in the organisation who is directly responsible for the well being and running of the programme i.e. there has been a lack of ownership by the Park hierarchy, compounded by restructuring and the establishment of four Business Centres as well as Corporate structures (centralised ‘Head Office’ at Skukuza) resulting in a mix of Matrix Management and Line Function The establishment of a user group (as described in Recommendation 2 above), under the responsible person, should enhance the efficient functioning of the programme.

Recommendation 6: An information needs orientated data model for the Park must be developed and implemented in conjunction with the planning of further large scale CyberTracker data collection (but use of CT in patrol planning and collection of current data for CIS should proceed apace).

The development of a logical data model focussing at least initially on the most critical information requirements for decision making and key performance areas of the Park is essential if information is to be appreciated by the management hierarchy as a strategic resource. The development of a needs orientated data model follows on logically from the needs analysis (Recommendation 1).

Recommendation 7: CyberTracker based field monitoring is revived on the strength of meeting the security needs of the Park, with the collection of additional biological data being highly focussed and restricted to information that cannot be gathered using other more scientifically based techniques.

A critical function of the Field Ranger force is securing the Park against illegal activities of all forms and the Park authority is obliged to undertake and report on these activities. The CIS, who collates and reports on these activities has specific and already well defined requirements for information which it is currently struggling to get from field based management staff. There is little doubt that a properly designed (in collaboration with CIS) and managed C.T. monitoring programme will be able to meet these needs. This essential set of information should be made mandatory for all section staff to collect and for it to be forwarded to the relevant managerial level. This is justification alone for the re-institution of the C.T. programme to the Park. The implications are that sufficient hardware will be required to adequately equip each section. Each Section should immediately provide an indication of hardware required to commence. Funding implications (purchase of ‘updated’, integrated Palm/Magellan equipment, sufficient chargers etc as well as maintenance costs) must be addressed and responsibility for funding assumed.

Recommendation 8: GTZ should engage KNP Management once the new Head: Conservation Services is appointed, to discuss possible future GTZ involvement in terms of Technical Support.

The responsibilities of KNP and GTZ to be discussed and negotiated during this meeting. Obviously GTZ will require assurances should they be requested to provide further technical support. However, it is our impression that KNP at all levels have endorsed commitment to the use of this technology, and are apparently committing funds for this purpose.

Acknowledgements

Judith Kruger is thanked for facilitating some interviews and for patiently providing useful information. All District, Section and Field Rangers interviewed are thanked for their frank responses, as are other members of the Conservation and Scientific Services Sections interviewed. Members of Management, including the Director, Mr Mabunda, are similarly thanked. Eddie Koch and Johannes Baumgarten are thanked for comments and suggestions on a draft report.

Appendix 1: Visitation and work schedule

Day D. Grossman P.S. Goodman
Sunday 3rd Preparation: Background reading; travel Nelspruit; interview Dr H.Biggs (Prg. Mgr. Systems Ecology); travel Skukuza. Preparation: Background reading; travel Pmb -> Nelspruit; interview Dr H.Biggs (Prg. Mgr. Systems Ecology); travel Skukuza.
Monday 4th Interviews with W. Gertenbach (GM Nature Conservation), D. Swanepoel (Former Section Ranger and C.T. Initiator), D. Pienaar (Head Scientific Services): Discussions and synthesis of findings with P. Goodman. Attend GIS Day at Skukuza.

Interviews with D. Swanepoel (Former Section Ranger and C.T. Initiator), D. Pienaar (Head Scientific Services). Discussions and synthesis of findings with D Grossman.

Tuesday 5th Interviews with: Phin Nobela (Conservation Coordinator), David Mabunda (Director KNP), Stephen Whitfield (Section Ranger Tshokwane), Judith Kruger (Database Analyst). Discussions with P. Goodman re report structure and content. Interviews with: Phin Nobela (Conservation Coordinator), David Mabunda (Director KNP), Stephen Whitfield (Section Ranger Tshokwane), Judith Kruger (Database Analyst). Discussions with D Grossman re report content and structure
Wedneday 6th Travel and Field visits to Tshokwane; interviews with field rangers and Section Ranger (Steven Whitfield) in situ; interview with District Ranger North at Letaba (Louis Olivier); collation and synthesis Discussions with Judith Kruger and synthesis of information and collation of report.
Thursday 7th Travel and interview with District Ranger Far North, (Kobus Wentzel, Shingwedzi). Interview with Ken Maggs (CIS); synthesis and collation of report.
Friday 8th Travel to Jhb; reporting (Saturday) Synthesis and collation of report; travel Skukuza to Jhb; review draft report: travel - Jhb to Pmb (Sunday).