Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve – Final Report on PAM findings

SONY DSCFrom Nov. 2014 to Nov. 2015 we monitored wildlife and gun hunting activity within the Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve (southwest region of Cameroon). The project was funded by the USFWS (E14AP00503) and coordinated by Joshua Linder (James Madison University), with co-PIs Christos Astaras (University of Oxford), and Peter Wrege (Cornell University). The goal of the project was to demonstrate how the passive acoustic monitoring protocol (PAM) developed in Korup National Park (just a few kilometers away) could be “exported” in new sites, providing insight on wildlife status and human activities within protected areas which are currently totally unmonitored, so as to help develop the momentum needed to make these “paper parks” actually managed/monitored.

You can read our final report to USFWS below. Importantly, we managed to detect the species-characteristic male Preuss’s guenon “boom” call in several sensors, confirming the persistence of the endangered primate within RHFR. We are currently developing an automated detection algorithm for the species that will facilitate rapid acoustic surveys in other forest fragments within the historical range of the species in Cameroon and Nigeria. Our acoustic data also showed that RHFR is under significant gun hunting pressure, and that – especially if the Wildlife Sanctuary status considered for the site is to be pursued as discussed for years now – some level of patrolling and monitoring needs to be introduced at the site.

We will be developing a series of management and monitoring recommendations – as per the project plan – to share with our colleagues in Cameroon and specifically the regional delegation of the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife (MINFOF).

Final report – USFWS – Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve PAM findings

DI Newsletter – Project Articles

Please find below links to the two Darwin Initiative Newsletter articles featuring findings of our projects (Issues: June 2014 / May 2016).

darwin-newsletter-june-2014

June 2014: (p. 17)

“Reducing illegal poaching which harms local communities leads to greater food and livelihood security in Cameroon”

 

darwin-newsletter-may-2016

 

 

 

 

 

May 2016: (p. 18)

“Acoustic monitoring in African tropical protected areas: improving biodiversity and social outcomes

 

Links to the entire DI newsletter issues can be found here (June 2014) and here (May 2016).

 

Deployment Instructions of SM2+ Acoustic Sensors in Korup N.P.

Please find below the manual developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Bioacoustics Research Program) during the Darwin Initiative project for the deployment of the Wildlife Acoustics’ SM2+ sensors in Korup National Park. You may find it useful for developing your own acoustic projects even if you use different acoustic sensors (and why not, share your deployment protocols on this site as well).

Sm2+ Deployment Instructions – Darwin Initiative Project Ref20-012 – Korup NP

Wildlife Acoustics Grant – Deadline Nov. 15

Wildlife Acoustics, Inc. is the leading provider of bioacoustic equipment and we have been using their (now discontinued) SM2+ sensors for our project in Cameroon. They have quarterly rounds of grants (up to 5,000 USD) for their equipment. The deadline for the next round is Nov. 15, 2016. Do you have a cool project in mind that would require acoustic sensors? Maybe you should think fast and put a proposal together. We will! We have been itching to try the new SM4 sensors in the field.

http://www.wildlifeacoustics.com/grant

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Batteries and SD cards – they make a difference

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The technicians of Cornell University’s Bioacoustics Lab informed us that the SWIFT acoustic sensors (see earlier post) would probably run for up to 2 months if deployed using three D size lithium batteries (such as these / note that each battery has 3.6V vs. the 1.5V of the standard D cell size batteries). Such lithium batteries are considerably more expensive than regular batteries and harder to obtain, but they may be worth considering if the sites where the acoustic sensors to be deployed are remote and therefore having monthly maintenance trips for them becomes very expensive or impractical given the human resources available. If you end up using these batteries with the SWIFT sensors, please do share with us your experience with them (i.e. how long did they last in the end in your landscape/climate). Sub-zero cold weather for instance is known to reduce the running time of batteries.

Also, the engineers recommend using San Disk Extreme Pro SD (Class 10) cards as the energy consumption with other SD card types could be up to 10% higher. In terms of regular 1.5V D cell batteries, they recommend using Panasonic Industrial Alkaline batteries for longer running time (see product data sheet here / LR20XWA/BB).

Happy PAMing (Passive Acoustic Monitoring)   : )