It was with a sense of wonder that I watched a video recently shared by Google showcasing the scientific discovery by Dr Julian Bayliss and Flora and Fauna International (FFI) of a “hidden” rainforest on Mount Mabu in northern Mozambique.
Dr Bayliss spotted the rainforest using Google Earth and following a little research discovered that it was unknown and unvisited by western scientists. A follow up expedition to the area has found at least a dozen new species to science.
Of course Mozambiquans living locally will have known about Mt Mabu and its wildlife for centuries and although the discovery of such places and new species by western scientists remains few and far between it does show us that our amazing natural world still retains some mysteries!
Watch Google’s video of the “hidden” rainforest
It also shows the increasing power of technology in conservation work. WWF is increasingly using technology to help us research and better protect our priority landscapes, seascapes and species. For many years across Africa we have helped electronically tag rhinos, elephants, turtles and even whale sharks to be able to track their movements and better understand their behaviour, ranges, migration patterns and nesting behaviour as well as alert rangers and communities as to their location. WWF also uses aerial maps and Geographical Information System (GIS) data to be able to map and assess changes in forest cover.
Looking forward, in Kenya WWF is researching the possibility of using aerial reconnaissance vehicles (ARV’s) to monitor rhinos and elephants as well as spot poachers and will pilot smart phone apps designed to help community members collect information on poaching, cutting of important timber species, sightings of important animal species and in coastal communities, fish catches.