Tracking the Wild - A revolutionary new wildlife sightings app
CAPE TOWN – February 2014
Tracking the Wild launches new app – the ultimate wildlife companion for safaris and bird watching.
The first completely free wildlife sightings app with offline maps, stylishly designed with an accompanying interactive website.
Today marks the launch of a cutting edge wildlife sightings app. Tracking the Wild is the most advanced of its kind, offering much more than just the ability to record and share animal sightings.
With a complete directory of all of South Africa’s national parks, major provincial nature reserves as well as some private game reserves – amounting to over 35 parks in South Africa – it is expanding rapidly and will soon include parks in the rest of southern Africa.
The apps' creators, John and Natalie White, are avid conservationists and wildlife lovers. “Our goal is to build a community of wildlife lovers who will gain a greater appreciation for all types of wildlife whilst also helping to raise awareness of Africa’s wilderness through sustainable tourism,” said John. “We believe that Africa’s wilderness can only be protected when people have the opportunity to experience its beauty and contribute towards its long-term preservation.”
How does it work?
The app has the functionality to share and view sightings in real-time. A user can view sightings either via the bespoke newsfeed, by location pins on a map or on a heat-map in the hotspot feature. The hotspot feature is designed to assist self-drive guests who don’t have the benefit of a professional safari guide to show them all the good spots in a reserve. “We are mindful of the fact that chasing sightings can cause problems with congestion, particularly in the busier reserves,” added John. “However, we hope that by illustrating to the user the wider spread of wildlife sightings, this will encourage the visitor to venture off the beaten track.”
For each game reserve you can download an offline map and species guide for use when you are out of mobile coverage. The maps use the latest vector technology, allowing you to view incredible detail, down to the building numbers in the rest camps, whilst keeping the file size to a minimum. At just over 1MB, the map of Kruger National Park, for example, is quick and easy to download, even over a mobile connection.
Tracking the Wild’s real triumph is the app’s sophisticated design, which uses the technology embedded in today's smartphones to make recording a sighting quick and simple. Take a photo on your smartphone or GPS-enabled camera and the app will automatically capture the location, date and time, leaving you with just a few simple inputs to post your sighting and share it with others using the platform or with your friends and family via social media. “The idea was to do away with the old notepad and pencil sightings lists and instead make use of the technology that the majority of us carry around in our pockets. Each user can manage their sightings lists via their user profile either on the app or the website” adds John.
Tracking the Wild is designed for both birders and mammal lovers alike, with a specific species list for each game reserve that covers birds, mammals and reptiles. You also get access to important contact information including the number for a poaching hotline, as well as links to accommodation via SafariNow so you can book at the click of a button.
But won't poachers be able to use it to locate rhino?
No. Tracking the Wild does not permit the posting of any rhino sightings and actually has the ability to completely exclude location information for any species whose safety could be jeopardized by its location being made public. All the valuable sightings data is shared with organisations such as Cape Town University’s Animal Demographic Unit which is great news for conservation and research.
A wealth of information
The website is well worth a mention too. You can access all the same great features as the app with the addition of a blog full of all things safari and wildlife related, from must-visit game reserves to advice on camera equipment.
Tracking the Wild for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store from today. An iPhone version of the application is currently in development and scheduled to be available in mid 2014.
Download the Android app from the Play Store
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