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.

No comments:

Post a Comment