Jordan deplores new technology to track endangered animals

From Maxwell Awumah, GNA Special Correspondent, Amman, Jordan.

Dana (Jordan) – Researchers of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), a non-governmental organisation have deployed a new technology to record the population of animals in the Dana Biosphere Nature Reserve (DBNR).

RSCN is devoted to the conservation of Jordan’s natural environment

The ultra-violet sensor laid cameras invented by researchers was supported by Sony Company, a multi-electronic giant, to measure the population and distribution of animals, especially, the endangered Ibex specie.

The study additionally aimed to record the female-juvenile ratio of mammals, male-female population and visitation ratios have revealed tremendous results.

For instance, the sensor laid cameras, which took both video and still pictures, when the mammals approached, documented 450 ibex population in 2011, from the initial count of 15, when the Reserve was established in 1993.

Mr Malik Al-Awaiji, Ecologist of the Reserve told the Ghana News Agency that the technology, which has a playback mechanism, documented increasing population of Caracal, Ibex, Rock Hyrax and Bland Ford Fox, which were thought to be extinct in the reserve.

He said the study planted 12 devices, which records both day and night and picks the vibrations of approaching mammals and stores their images on the media card of the device due to its highly sensitive imbedded ultra-violet sensors and lights.

“The device begins to record the presence of mammals, when they hit the 10-metre diameter line,” he added

The Reserve is a home for some 40 different species of mammals including the stripped hyenas, rock rabbits, wolves, Asiatic jackals and rear species of Red as well as Sand Foxes.

The animals were documented by the hidden cameras at vantage points including water sources, valleys and routes.

He indicated the technology gives a positive idea of mammals in the reserve and provides the platform to track their movement and reproductive patterns.

According to Al-Awaiji, the reserve prides itself to more than 200 bird species with more than 800 different plant varieties and the discovery of three new plant species not known to science.

He named them as Rohia danaiansis, Macromeria danaiansis and Salin danaiansis.

“Work is ongoing on the rare plants to determine their properties,” he said.

Mr Raed Khawaldeh, Park Manager said private-public partnership collaboration especially with Dana community was yielding positive dividend saying “this collaboration was needed for the sustenance of the resource to benefit even generations unborn.”

The Reserve recorded 40,000 visitations and made revenue of 300,000 Jordanian Dinar but ploughed in 400,000 JD as running cost.

He enumerated the challenges facing the park to include poaching, illegal tree-felling, illegal tourism, and over-grazing.

Estate Manager of the Reserve, Mr Mahmoud Bdour disclosed that DBNR was benefiting from a 2.5 million dollar facility from the United States Agency for International Development to fix dilapidated guest infrastructure including its sewerage system.

“I am optimistic, the project will enhance visitation and make the area an eco-friendly reserve and generate the needed revenue to further development, when completed.”

DBNR is a bio-diversified reserve of 310 kilometres square in size, boasting of series of spectacular mountains of 1,600 metres above sea level and 150 metres of valleys and gouges below sea level.

It extends from the top of the Jordan Rift Valley to the desert lowlands of Wadi Araba and famed for its bird watching and archeological sites.

It is receiving support from the World Band and the United Nations Development Programme through the Global Environment facility.

Jordan is host to other reserves, namely, Shamary, Azraq Wetland, Rum, Mujib Biosphere, Ajloun, Dippen and the newest, the Al Yarmoole reserve.

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