Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Economy, People & Places » Using SMART Technology to Improve Wildlife Conservation
Jun 1, 2022

Using SMART Technology to Improve Wildlife Conservation

The National Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool Conference was held this morning in Belmopan where representatives of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Biodiversity Office met to discuss new technologies to aid enforcement officers in safeguarding Belize’s marine and terrestrial protected areas. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Collecting, measuring and evaluating data are important in improving the effectiveness of wildlife conservation efforts.  The National Protected Areas System, NPAS, covers roughly forty-six percent of Belize’s landmass.  Managing and protecting wildlife and wild places have been made easier by using a platform that is made up of a set of software and analysis tools.


Saul Cruz

Saul Cruz, Biodiversity Officer, National Biodiversity Office

“SMART is basically an Android application, it can be installed on any mobile device.  It’s a very user-friendly application that basically assists with the streamlining and systematizing how information is gathered out in the field.”


Short for Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool, SMART has proven useful in the areas of marine and terrestrial law enforcement.  The Wildlife Conservation Society introduced the technology back in 2012, but it wasn’t until three years later that it began to gain traction within the conservation community.


Kamille Pennell

Kamille Pennell, Technical Coordinator, Wildlife Conservation Society

“The tool has been or is fully implemented in the marine system, so we always talk about the success there.  When it comes to the terrestrial area, it’s picking up.  So we have partners all the way in the south, Ya’Axche Conservation Trust, for example.  We have some in the north, as well, already implementing the systems.”


According to Saul Cruz, a biodiversity officer, it is envisaged that the data model will provide sufficient real-time data to government agencies and other users to inform intelligence-based activities that aid in the identification of hotspots of illegal activities.


Saul Cruz

“Part of the rangers’ work is to carry out patrols and field activities.  So the tool is basically, or one part of the tool is the Android-based application.  It basically ensures that the rangers are collecting and not missing the critical components of their enforcement job.  So any observations in relation to pressures, threats, illegal activities is recorded within the system.  The system automatically collects spatial data, GPS coordinates, it allows you to take pictures, it allows you to input any observation so you can type in observations and details of any particular incident that you have.  The pictures are geo-referenced, so at any point in time you can tag those images and you can go back to a specific point on a map.”


The Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Sustainable Development, is looking for opportunities to improve system performance, as well as protection of critical habitats and biodiversity.


Dr. Kenrick Williams

Dr. Kenrick Williams, C.E.O., Ministry of Sustainable Development

“The ministry, really, is trying to find more integrated ways to address enforcement, address protected areas management in general.  You see, we all understand that we have very limited resources as it relates to investments in protected areas.  There’s a significant financial gap in terms of investments for protected areas.  What today’s conference is doing is to look at the specific tool that will help to collate data, collate information as it relates to enforcement, as it relates to monitoring, as it relates to reporting and improve really the data that we have to inform policy.”


The theme for this year’s SMART Conference is Integrating Data Collection through SMART Technology, Strengthening Belize’s Approach to Protected Areas Enforcement.


Isani Cayetano For News Five


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed