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Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary reinforces its surveillance and ecological monitoring methods with drone piloting training

Monday, 7 December 2020 at 15:00
access_time 3 min read
Eco-guards of the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary in drone piloting training. © UNESCO DAKAR/Moussa Wélé

The Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary hosted from 17 to 24 November the training on the use of new technologies to improve the surveillance and ecological monitoring of this property inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Bird Sanctuary is inscribed since 1981 on the World Heritage List as a natural site, alongside the Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal. It is the third largest bird reserve in the world and remains one of the few green areas in the Sahel. Every year, from September to April, about 3 million birds migrate from Europe to escape the winter period and pass through this park where nearly 400 different species have been recorded. Like many natural sites in the world and particularly in Africa, the Sanctuary faces various conservation challenges including surveillance and the effectiveness of ecological monitoring methods. 

For eight days, agents of the National Parks Directorate (DPN) and park eco-guards were trained in the techniques of piloting, collecting, processing and analyzing data from drones. With 64 hours of classes, of which 20 hours of theory and 44 hours of practical training, the training covered various modules including: introduction to drone piloting, environmental monitoring, ecological monitoring of birds, monitoring of human impacts and data processing and analysis.

Some feedback from trainers and participants on the results of the training:

“The drone opens up different perspectives from an environmental point of view. It offers the possibility of collecting digital information on the environment that can then be compared and analyzed for conservation purposes. Its use is more important in the field of ecological monitoring and mapping. State institutions in charge of biodiversity conservation must seize this opportunity offered by the new technology for data collection to ensure better management of biodiversity. Therefore we are here at the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary with the agents for practical training sessions on the use of this tool in their environment”.
Meyer Etienne DE KOCK, trainer & specialist in environmental monitoring and evaluation and use of drones.

“The results of the training are very satisfying, as it enabled us to understand the operating modes and piloting of drones in one week, with a very practical approach compared to the theory. In addition, the techniques for mapping and monitoring biodiversity have been improved.”
Doctor Mallé GUEYE, National Trainer and Teacher-Researcher at the University of Thies

“I am completely satisfied with this training which comes at the right time. Familiarizing yourself with these tools is very important, even essential. For us site managers in charge of ecological follow-up and monitoring, this tool completes our work. With the drone we can now obtain images and information from areas that are inaccessible for ecological monitoring. Its use also facilitates the exploitation of data, especially those concerning birds nesting in colonies with concentrations of thousands of birds. With direct observations, we make estimations, and mistakes can be made, but combined with the data collected with the drone, we can now make the comparison and get closer to an accurate figure”.
Major Cheikh Niang, Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary curator.

“With this new, well-adapted tool, agents will be able to benefit from new knowledge in ecological monitoring, which is one of our objectives, and will be able to pass on the knowledge gained from this training to future recruits”.
Lieutenant Amdy SAMB, monitoring and evaluation division, DPN

This training is part of the International Assistance Request granted to Senegal for the cycle 2020-2021 by the UNESCO World Heritage Fund, and the efforts made by the State Party to improve the management and protection of the property. The project is being implemented by the Directorate of National Parks of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in close collaboration with the UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar and the World Heritage Centre.

For more information on the project:

Monday, 7 December 2020 at 15:00
access_time 3 min read
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