World Wildlife Day: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation

Written by on March 5, 2024

In commemoration of World Wildlife Day, The Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission, in collaboration with the Protected Areas Commission, hosted a fair at the Zoological Park and Wildlife Rescue Centre to highlight the importance of our wildlife. World Wildlife Day is observed on March 3 every year. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of flora and fauna. The day was proclaimed on December 20th, 2013 to help support and raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that plant and animal conservation provide to people. This year’s theme is “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation”.

 

Communication Officer of the Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission (GWCMC), Deuel Huges, explained that the fair sought to foster an appreciation for wildlife among the general public and raise awareness about technologies that are used in wildlife conservation. He said, “Generally, when people hear about wildlife or some wild animal, they’re either scared of it or they want to get rid of it. That is one of the attitudes and perceptions we want to change.”

Echoing this sentiment, Rameena Mangal, the Head of Community Engagement and Environmental Education Department at the Protected Area Commission (PAC) stated, “Sometimes when we hear about wild life, we think it’s something far away and we’re not attached to it or it does not impact us … but everything is connected to our ecosystem.” Wildlife, according to Mangal, is the cornerstone of a healthy ecosystem, and a healthy ecosystem requires climate mitigation.. ‘Climate mitigation” she said, is what keeps us comfortable. Climate mitigation or decarbonisation is an action to limit climate change. This action reduces greenhouse gas emissions and removes those gases from the atmosphere. Climate mitigation protects us from the looming threat of climate change. Mrs Mangol expressed that our daily livelihoods depend on the health of our wildlife, and we must prioritize preserving these species for future generations. We must highlight threatened species, protect their populations, and support their recovery.

The event also brought together exhibitors from organisations, such as the Environmental Protective Agency, Policy Forum Guyana, Guyana Forestry Commission, and Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme Guyana. Children as well as adults were able to play educational games, participate in quizzes, and enjoy arts and craft projects put on display by the various organizations.

To further educate the public on wildlife, the GWMC plans to continue to extend its awareness campaign across the country. “We have an event scheduled for Aishalton in April…We want to go around the country, so that not only people on the coast can be made aware of wildlife and its importance,” said GWMC’s Communication Officer Deuel Hughes. Hughes also expressed that the organisation also plans to have school outreaches, in an effort to reach the students from a young, tender age so that they will grow to have an appreciation for wildlife.

Wildlife is crucial for our sustainability. Thus, Hughes stressed that it is imperative that Guyanese eliminate the stigma around wildlife. He stated “ wild life encompasses not only animals like jaguars and pumas, but also plans and trees, making it crucial to recognize its importance” .

He also shared that technology is becoming an integral part of wildlife conservation, so he welcomes their support and even suggested that an app be created where members of the public can report wildlife conflicts. A few of the technological applications embraced for the conservation of wildlife include traps, drones, remote sensors, telemetry used to track turtles, and more

by: Hillon LaCruz | Pics: Ladonna (EPA)

 


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