Digital innovation investment crucial for sustainable wildlife conservation in Ghana – EcoCare Ghana

A captive shoebill stork named ‘Sushi photographed at the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre in Entebbe. Alex Braczkowski

By Kizito CUDJOE

EcoCare Ghana, a leading environmental advocacy group, has called for investment and the adoption of cutting-edge digital innovations to combat the escalating threats to Ghana’s wildlife, as the world marks Wildlife Day.

According to the environmental activist group, establishing a centralized system for storing and providing access to collected data for scientists, researchers, and the public is crucial. This, it is noted will enhance capacity building, monitor wildlife development, and facilitate proactive conservation measures.

Additionally, they asserted that it will enable accurate data collection on remaining wildlife, predict future trends, and devise preemptive solutions to combat extinction.

Ghana is renowned for its seven national parks, six resource reserves, two wildlife sanctuaries, and rich biodiversity. The country which is home to over 750 bird species, featuring iconic wildlife such as antelopes, elephants, primates, baboons, marine turtles, and crocodiles is facing unprecedented challenges.

Human activities, ranging from poaching to deforestation, pollution, overfishing, overhunting, illegal trade, and mining both legal and illegal, have driven numerous species to the brink of extinction, as reported by Global Forest Watch, revealing a loss of 118,000 hectares of natural forest in 2022.

Despite ongoing efforts to conserve and sustainably manage the remaining biodiversity, traditional conservation methods have yielded limited results.

It is against this background that EcoCare Ghana, in a statement said the development highlights the urgency and relevance of the World Wildlife Day (WWD) 2024 theme – “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation.”

EcoCare Ghana argued that “In an era where technology permeates every facet of human life, integrating digital innovations into wildlife conservation becomes imperative for promoting sustainability. Proven technologies such as remote sensing, non-evasive drones, advanced tracking systems, artificial intelligence, groundbreaking apps, and real-time data analytics have demonstrated their effectiveness in wildlife conservation.”

Furthermore, they stated that these technologies not only contribute to sustainable wildlife management but also serve as invaluable tools for data collection, verification, research, animal tracking, and protection against poaching and illegal activities.

“As we celebrate WWD today, it is also important to draw attention to some occurrences on the domestic scene which is undermining efforts being made to protect and safeguard the habitat of wildlife and other biodiversity.

The decision by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to reclassify Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (GSBAs) and open them up for logging is a huge anti-climax to all the good leadership he has shown on the international scene.”

They, therefore, also used this occasion to call for the repeal of LI 2462 which allows for mining in forest reserves and other protected areas.

“At EcoCare Ghana, we firmly believe that now is the opportune moment to leverage technology for the benefit of both humanity and the natural environment. It is a pivotal time to forge connections between humans and the natural world by integrating technology into wildlife conservation efforts.

We urge all stakeholders to prioritize and invest in digital innovations to safeguard Ghana’s wildlife for generations to come.”

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