The Kruger National Park, the largest national park in South Africa, is using 125 CyberTracker units to collect more than a million records a year. CyberTracker monitoring plays a crucial role in the Strategic Adaptive Management framework of the Park.
The Kruger National Park has adopted a management policy known as Strategic Adaptive Management, which explicitly includes checking against short, medium and long-term goals.
A strategic management system aims to be forward-looking and not just reactive. An adaptive management system is flexible enough to respond to changes in the ecosystem, and has feedback loops to allow this. Research in the Park is conducted on an ongoing basis, revealing new interactions between animals and plants. As the data is collected, processed and analysed, a fuller picture begins to take shape, allowing the Park managers to adjust and adapt their management policies.
Strategic Adaptive Management requires large quantities of detailed data on the entire ecosystem. CyberTracker proved itself to be one of the most effective tools to meet these requirements. CyberTracker has now formally been adopted as an integral part of the Park management strategy.
The monitoring programme involves:
- Developing and implementing an information strategy based on Park management needs.
- Instituting a structured in-service training programme for collecting, managing and processing the data.
- Conducting CyberTracker based field monitoring to meet the security needs of the Park.
- Collecting additional biological data in a highly focussed manner.
Data include distribution of mega herbivores, ungulates, carnivores, small mammals, birds and reptiles; location of spoor of rare species; availability of surface water; location of diseased or injured animals and associated causes; carcasses and possible cause of death; location of poaching activities; fence line breakages; impact of elephants on sensitive tree species; distribution of invasive alien species; fire mapping; vegetation surveys for long-term ecological monitoring; annual veld condition assessments; and collaborative research projects. Data collection aims to benefit both the objectives of management of the KNP and scientific research as outlined in the KNP Management Plan.
For more information please see:
- Using technology in the fight against rhino poaching
- Science Support within the South African National Parks Adaptive Management Framework
- Patterns of alien plant distribution at multiple spatial scales in a large national park: implications for ecology, management and monitoring
- First Dedicated Black Rhino Count Finds 55 Animals
- Kruger National Park: SANParks' CyberTracker - Conservation in the Palms of our Hands
- Kruger National Park - Plea for Support - SANParks CyberTracker
- Electronic Ranger Diaries - The Kruger National Park CyberTracker Program, Sandra Mac Fadyen, January 2005
- The Fuller Context of Monitoring, Harry Biggs, April 2002
- A Review of the CyberTracker programme in Kruger National Park, PS Goodman and D Grossman, November 2002
We would like to thank GTZ Transform and Sappi for supporting the CyberTracker project in the Kruger National Park.