Friday, January 07, 2005

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - NASA Satellite Imagery comes to their aid.

Some very positive use of satellite imagery is reported here by EurekAlert - Gorillas in the midst of extinction.
Satellites provide a bird's eye view of planet Earth, and the space-based vantage can be extremely useful to people interested in viewing out-of-the-way places. ... Now, NASA satellite imagery is giving scientists and conservationists some of the tools they need to get valuable information on land cover and land use changes in wild areas.

NASA satellite imagery helps scientists better understand land changes in the Virunga Conservation Area which covers the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.[...]

In a single week in June of 2004, farmers created pasture for their cattle by clearing 15 square kilometers (5.8 square miles), or 6 percent, of the 264-square kilometers (102 square miles) of mountain gorilla habitat in the southern 'Mikeno' sector of Virunga National Park. Because mountain gorilla numbers had increased by close to 56 individuals over the last 10 years, the recent loss of land was a considerable step backward.
Full story continues...