Wildlife sightings app restrictions to rely on 'sensible consideration' from visitors - SANParks

2016-06-10 08:39 - Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - South African National Parks' call on visitors to not use mobile applications in the Kruger National Park, saying the technology has "become a major cause for concern", has sparked controversy among park enthusiasts. 

SANParks to 'curtail use of wildlife apps' such as Latest Sightings

Most of the Kruger enthusiast on the official SANParks - Kruger National Parks Facebook page agree with SANParks' decision to curtail the use of apps. 

According to a park lover, Geoffrey Michael van Lear, "the problem is that visitors rush off to sightings, speeding in the process. As we have seen, animals will get knocked over.

"The purpose of visiting the Park is to relax and go on game drives and look for the unexpected. If your aim is to see the Big 5 in one day via the use of an app, then rather get a DVD. Having said that, officials need to stamp their authority and deal with the lack of respect for the laws of the Park. I am against the app," Van Lear says. 

Others, however, say this controversial discussion has just placed more emphasis on apps, and will spike the use of technology in the Park. 

Martin Willemse says it is "impossible to police. I find the negativity surrounding this app to be counter-productive - all it is doing is promoting the app even further..."

Jeandie Leone says, "I'd like to see the actual research proving the app's contribution to speeding vehicles. Kruger idiots have been around since I can remember. I distinctly recall various incidents in the past where word spread around the camp of an exciting sighting nearby with the same style diesel 4x4 vehicles revving their engines and promptly abandoning camp fires already lit in order to rush to the sighting that was reported via the grapevine."

Park enthusiast Willem Heckroodt also says it would be sad if apps are curtailed.  

"There are various ways in which information is shared. If only one is targeted, it's a witch hunt. OSV should then also have their radios removed, how are you going to control WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and all the other platforms? Impossible."

Heckroodt 's sentiment is shared by all readers, social media users as well as park management, who say they are concerned about how a prohibition or limiting of apps would be implemented. 

Reynold Thakhuli for SANParks told Traveller24, "It would be difficult to have a policing system" to control the use of technology in the park.

"We will rely on the guests sensible consideration in the use of this mobile applications," Thakhuli says. 

Nadav Ossendryver, founder of the widely-used Latest sightings app, told Traveller24 earlier that his app, when it was launched in 2011, "was developed with the ethos of enriching people’s wildlife experience". 


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