Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Urgent Gorilla Appeal

30 October 2013

Dear Wildlife Advocate,

Africa’s largest mammals are seriously threatened. Ivory is now worth 20 percent more than gold, hence militant insurgents have turned to massacring elephants to finance their wars. The trade in tusks and rhino horn, and the buildup of armed groups in and around great ape habitats have all contributed to a poaching bonanza. Elephant, rhino, gorilla, and chimpanzee are now more threatened than at any other time in history.

African wildlife authorities are cash-strapped, unable to afford the numbers of rangers needed to adequately patrol protected areas. Consequently conservationists have turned to innovative technology to find new cost-effective ways of tackling the threats to wildlife.

One such innovation is the GorillaCam project proposed for the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. It uses small weatherproof cameras and green-energy fuel cells to keep an eye on one of the world’s only populations of mountain gorillas. 

Working over the next four years in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, WildLIGHT and Global Changemaker hope to demonstrate that this innovation can be a self-financing means of protecting wildlife in remote protected areas across the continent. And in addition to boosting Africa’s beleaguered conservation efforts, GorillaCam will demonstrate the capacity for green energy to overcome a host of challenges in the developing world. We believe this presents a potential paradigm shift in global change.

GorillaCam has generated a good deal of interest. By all accounts it is a great idea, but we cannot proceed without pump-priming funding. At this time we are hoping to raise $40,000 - ten percent of the budget - so we may conduct due diligence, a site visit, and make all the necessary preparations before setting it up. We expect GorillaCam will have raised the rest of its entire budget via crowd-funding and be fully functioning in the jungle by the end of the first quarter of 2014, and that the project will start to become self-financing in 2016.

Your support is needed to stop the growing threats to Africa’s large mammals. Please consider making a donation to WildLIGHT for all or part of the $40,000 (£25,000). By stopping the poachers, you will not only be preserving elephant, rhino, chimp and gorilla populations for future generations, but you’ll also make Africa a much safer place. 

Thank you for your generous consideration. Please don’t hesitate to email me for further information at I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Yours sincerely,

Greg Cummings
Director WildLIGHT


WildLIGHT Ltd (by Guarantee) - A Registered Charity in Uganda - No. 113928

For a pdf of this letter please click here

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Track mountain gorillas in the palm of your hand...

Peer through the mists into the lair of the mountain king, climb the lush green slopes of Uganda's Impenetrable Forest in search of the large charismatic mammals Dian Fossey called "the greatest of the great apes" Just tap the gorilla-cam app.

For US$ 400,000, including a year's operating cost, Global Changemaker is proposing to install 20 high-definition web cameras in an area of the gorilla habitat about two square kilometres in size, allowing for a close field of observation. 

The tranquil village of Nkuringo in south-western Uganda is a perfect location to launch this project. Perched on a high ridge overlooking Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the village remains off the power grid yet has recently become a burgeoning spot for gorilla trekking. An alternative to oversubscribed Buhoma on the opposite side of the park, Nkuringo hosts a range of accommodation - including the high-end Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge which contributes some of its profits to the village association.    

Nkuringo gorillas. Photo courtesy of Scott DeLisi
Nkuringo means 'round stone' and takes its name from a small hill at the edge of the forest, as does the group of mountain gorillas that range through the valley. With ranging patterns that are among the most predictable of the Bwindi gorilla groups, Nkuringo is an ideal group to follow with gorilla-cams. Their range is also near the Uganda Wildlife Authority's ranger post, where the equipment will be monitored.

All cameras will be placed high in trees and operate constantly with night-vision capability, linked wirelessly through transmitters, each with its own source of power. AEDC fuel cells are ideal as they operate for about 6 to 8 weeks before the anodes need replacing. They can be exchanged for a new set and then refurbished at the ranger post, which will serve as a fuel-cell service shop. 

The cameras will stream pictures to the ranger post, where they'll be stored on a computer. A ranger trained in video editing will look through the footage daily and upload the good stuff via satellite to the Global Changemaker website (under construction). 

Virunga volcanoes at dawn, as viewed from Nkuringo village

Trees will grow, and leaves will begin to cover the equipment. Black and white colobus monkeys may toy with the cameras from time to time. Accordingly the rangers will need to have a clear idea where the installations are located. Large aerial maps will have the positions of the cameras clearly marked. They can also use the map to reference the movements of the gorillas. All cameras will have a GPS signal for location identification. 

This project will reinforce the protection of the gorillas and provide valuable scientific data about the behaviour of these elusive creatures, a boon to their survival.

Encountering wild mountain gorillas with one tap of the finger, streaming captivating images to the palm of your hand, gaining new insights into gorilla behaviour, ensuring their survival. These are all compelling enough reasons to support Global Changemaker.  

But there’s more...

Turning on the Lights

Gorilla-cams are only phase one. Phase two will supply up to 200 Nkuringo homes with green energy. AEDC's 12 Volt Zinc-air fuel cell works 24 hours a day, giving not only light but electricity to power other appliances such as sewing machines, TVs, mobile phone chargers, and anti-mosquito devices. It costs less than kerosene, leaves no carbon footprint, has no negative impact on the environment, and the left-over zinc oxide is a high value fertilizer. The result will be life-changeing.

Greg Cummings with an infant mountain gorilla from Nkuringo group
The main transmitter mast, the one sending back gorilla-cam images, doubles as a cell phone transmitter with coverage of up to 5 km. It will bring connectivity to the community through an internet cafe in the village, a porta-cabin that also acts as a service shop for fuel-cell customers. 

Add medical apps, edtech, social change apps and green energy appliances to the range of products available in the village and the multiplier effect becomes vast. Meantime subscribers at the other end of the connection can browse locally-made fair-trade goods and find out more about the good people of Nkuringo.

Global Changemaker's strategy is to establish a one-stop green revolution shop by fusing wildlife protection to sustainable development, supplying green energy to off-the-grid villages by following wild gorillas around the forest. 

We need your support to make this exciting new project a reality. Please help us raise the $400,000 needed to set-up and operate the gorilla-cam project for the first year, after which we expect it will be self-financing. 

Thank you for your generous consideration. You may download a copy of this proposal here

Contact Greg Cummings:

For more information about Global Changemaker, please watch the video below.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Global Changemaker

More than a billion people living in equatorial latitudes - 
where the sun sets quickly and twilight is brief - have no access to grid electricity.

Imagine if you could turn on their lights with just one click of the mouse.

Introducing a game changing app...

Connecting the first world to the developing world

Bringing green power to people who are off the grid
Creating sustainable employment in rural areas
Improving incomes, educational attainment and health across the developing world