photo courtesy of Terrence Franck
Nadav Ossendryver, a sixteen year old school boy from South Africa, has established a website that provides real-time updates on wildlife sightings in South Africa’s world famous Kruger National Park. Ossendryver’s websitie, Latest Sightings, provides real-time sightings of animals in the park. The website began life as a blog, but after eight months now has over 18,000 global followers.
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa at 19,485 square kilometres. The park contains a rich diversity of species and attracts approximately 950,000 tourists each year. For most tourists the main attraction is the African “Big Five” (African Elephant, Loxodonta africana; Black Rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis; Cape Buffalo, Syncerus caffer; Lion, Panthera leo; and Leopard, Panthera pardus). Ossendryver’s website works using crowdsourcing where visitors to the park update when and where they have spotted different species. Ossendryver revealed that the idea came to him after he grew tired of nagging his parents to ask passing motorists where the best wildlife sightings were.
Ossendryver maintains his website by working around his school day, including getting up before the park opens to post immediate updates based on visitors posting on Twitter, Facebook, Black Berry Messenger or the website itself. He continues to run the site during the day during school breaks. Due to his work and dedication Ossendryver has been made the Parks first virtual honorary ranger.
As well as being a handy tool for tourists, Latest Sightings also helps prevent poaching in the park as it lists contact number to report any sighting of poachers. Poaching is a big problem in South Africa, with rhino poaching being a particular problem in Kruger National Park. Since 2009 South Africa has suffered from the highest levels of poaching for rhino horn that has ever been experience by the country.
Frontier runs a number of African projects, including wildlife conservation projects on African game reserves.
By Julia Crabbe