Latest Sightings Helps Wildlife in Danger

Jan 9 2016
Countless reports of outrage have been reported recently of Percy the snared lion in the Kruger National Park, and Percy was one of the luckier ones who escaped thanks to pro-activeness. The pics released on Latest Sightings conjured horror reactions amongst many. And it is in circumstances like this that Latest Sightings plays a pivotal roll in saving wildlife. Nadav Ossendryver, founder of Latest Sightings says, “I feel that Latest Sightings plays a huge role in protecting snared animals. Latest Sightings is a community of people sharing their wildlife sightings in realtime to help others in the park see more wildlife. Yes, most of these reports are lions sleeping in a riverbed, or of a leopard crossing the road, and then disappearing into the thickets. But sometimes these animals have snares on them! And so when people report these snares to Latest Sightings, it creates awareness and also, we then forward the reports onto the right people who immediately assist the distressed animal.”
Lizette Bester, founder of the Care and action Group 'Enough is Enough' (EiE) has been using the Latest Sightings app for approximately two years now, and urges all to download the Latest Sightings app (iPhone & iPad app / Android app), as reports on the app are accurate to 5m. On receiving the report early Sunday morning she too was outraged. The main focus of EiE, is to promote public awareness and to give a solution when confronted with a snare. Lizette says, “Witnessing a snare sighting can be extremely traumatic! And I need to be supportive and creative in keeping all calm. ”On receiving the whatsapp message, Lizette immediately contacted and sent the ranger a photo, who replied it was worse than what he originally thought.  He also confirmed that he had been out in search of Percy but had no luck in finding him. 
Lizette says, “I received further phone calls with reports that he was spotted and passed on the information. But again they missed him! By Monday late morning the ranger sent me a desperate message! He said, “We have to request a GPS reading to help Percy.” Finally late afternoon Lizette says, “It happened, he was spotted again! And this time we asked the Latest Sightings tinger to stay with Percy until help arrived.” 
Sleeping in road
The initial report back was not a good one in that Percy would most probably have to be euthanized.  But they were waiting for the vet to confirm. And luckily for Percy he was given a second chance, his wounds were only skin deep, and today Percy is back to doing that which lions do best…
According to EWT’s (Endangered Wildlife Trust) executive summary, snaring is the most common illegal hunting method and is particularly undesirable from a conservation perspective.  It is highly effective, and difficult to control in the terms of the genders or species of animals captured, wasteful and has severe animal welfare implications due to the manner of capture and confinement, and frequent incidents of non-lethal wounding of wildlife. Illegal hunting for bushmeat is also typically more frequent in areas where wildlife concentrates, during the passage of migratory wildlife and during the late dry season when wildlife is concentrated around water-sources. Illegal hunting also tends to spike during drought when food-shortages are severe, and when the agricultural time-commitments of communities are low.
Getting Up
This illegal hunting is emerging as one of, if not the most severe, threats to wildlife in several countries in the savanna biome. Ecological consequences of illegal hunting include overall wildlife population declines, reductions in biodiversity, local disappearances of many species from both within and outside protected areas and associated loss of ecosystem functionality, and in some cases complete collapse and disappearance of wildlife populations. 
There have however been countless incidents where these animals have been saved due to initial reports on Latest Sightings. Nadav’s most feel good saves have been with wild dogs. He says, “They are endangered and rare, so it's hard for one group of people to find them. But when there are thousands of eyes out on the road looking, the task of finding the wild dogs becomes much easier and faster.” Here is an example of how a wild dog was saved due to initial reports on Latest Sightings:
And another incident worth looking at, is of a pregnant wild dog snared in the Kruger
Nadav concludes, “Every day we remind people to share their sightings, of animals and of snared animals. Then, when we receive these reports, first thing we do is alert SANParks which does a fantastic job in dealing with the injured animal. But more often than not, these animals are on the move and have moved from the road, so we also alert the rest of the Latest Sightings community immediately that there has been a snared animal seen. Thereafter the vets and tourists in the park are all on the lookout. We also encourage people to report in the app, as the location is accurate to 5m, so makes the searching 100x easier as you know exactly where to look.”
Lastly Latest Sightings would also like to express thanks to SANParks, who not only manages the Kruger National Park, but numerous 'Parks' in South Africa for their role in protecting our wildlife. They develop, expand, manage and promote a system of sustainable national parks that represents biodiversity and heritage assets, through innovation and best practice for the just and equitable benefit of current and future generations.

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