The old man clapped his hands in recognition as he recognized the picture of the Porcupine on the iPad. He started chattering excitedly in his own tongue, gesturing wildly as if he was throwing hunting spears at an imaginary prey. At once he recoiled, as he mimed being hit by porcupine quills, calling “Pew! Pew! Pew!” to mimic the sound as the spines flew through the air. He ended his charade with cries of pain worthy of an Oscar-winner as we all fell about laughing at his antics.
Want to go sailing on Lake Victoria, discover the scenic route to Murchison Falls, or dance the night away in Kampala, but haven't a clue who to call for advice? You’re in luck, because there’s a new smartphone application (app) to help you figure out how to do all of this yourself, and more. With support from USAID, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), and the partnership with the Uganda Tourism Board and Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda’s first ever travel guide app, the Pearl Guide, was developed.
It is my personal belief that conservation in today’s world cannot happen without the aid of the communities who live side-by-side with the animals who we are trying to save. This philosophy is one of the (many) reasons I was drawn to AWF: they also believe in helping the people to help the animals.
From Kenya's savannah grasslands to the land of a million hills in Uganda, our bus rattles along rough roads taking us to our first destination – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We are high in the mountains and though our journey is just beginning, I've arrived at what is to be one of the highlights of my trip.
Fifteen years ago, ranger-based monitoring (or RBM for short) was initiated as a tool in the conservation of mountain gorillas. Whether patrolling the park for law enforcement or tracking mountain gorillas for health assessments or to facilitate visits by tourists or researchers, data is being collected and recorded on data sheets. Every day. That's over 5,000 days of valuable data collected.