South African National Parks (SANParks) has released a statement in which it discourages people from using animal tracking apps. SANParks believes that lowering the use of these mobile apps will protect animals from overly enthusiastic tourists and will discourage other irresponsible tourist behaviour.

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SANParks admits that the use of mobile apps could be cool to share information on animal sightings in national parks like the iconic Kruger National Park. However, the use of animal tracking apps not only raises the risk of illegal poaching of endangered animals, but also results in the rise of other illegal and careless behaviour in national parks. The use of animal tracking apps could cause speedings, congestion at sightings, road kills and other irresponsible behaviour amongst guests. Managing Executive at SANParks, Hapiloe Sello explains that one of the biggest customer complaints received by SANParks are related to the use of mobile apps to track and share information on wild animals in national parks. Sello goes on to state that:

As an organisation we appreciate the fact that technology has evolved and that guests are taking advantage of it, however this is compromising the values of good game viewing in national parks.

Sello explains that guests visiting South African national parks usually enjoy a leisurely drive, with the potential of a good game sighting being a reward. The whole experience is supposed to create a safe environment for animals and humans. Using animal tracking apps is, according to Sello, “in direct contradiction to the ethos of responsible tourism espoused by SANParks“.

Sello concludes that:

We at SANParks discourage the use of these mobile applications as they tend to induce an unhealthy sense of eagerness for visitors to break the rules and, we are exploring legal mechanisms to curtail the use of sightings apps

Drop us a comment and let us know whether you agree with SANParks’s view on animal tracking apps.

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