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Background on Poaching in Africa

Discuss About The Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Anti Poac?

It is common to see media reporting scientific information both in print and electronic. There are always concerns of the media may misrepresent the facts to entice or motivate the viewership or readership. It is important for scientists to learn how to screen for the correct information, unlike the general audience. In this assignment, we will analyze scientific articles on conservation biology with respect to media reports in the literature or the subject matter of the articles.  

Poaching in the African continent is driving most animals to near extinction. Over the years, various approaches have been deployed to undo the vice. Use of remotely piloted aircraft is one anti-poaching technique that is gaining popularity in the region. In the current article, Mulero-Pázmán et al. (2014, pp. 1), reveal that the two species of rhinoceros, that is, the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) almost became extinct by early 1990s. In collaboration with the international community, most of the African governments mounted massive ant-poaching campaigns that saw the number of rhinos rising substantially up until 2007. As from 2010, things took a wrong turn, the numbers of the black rhinoceros and the white rhinoceros began to stagnate. As of now, these two species are still considered vulnerable; with the black rhinoceros being listed under Critically Endangered while the white rhinoceros is classified as Near Threatened.


The media has been very vocal in reporting the plight of black rhinoceros and the white rhinoceros as well as other animals. USnews.com reported in 2015 of the rising use of drones in monitoring poaching in the region (Anon, 2017, pp. 1). Christopher Torchia narrated that the Zulu Hills that once served as wild life hunting grounds now have a different purpose. South African conservationists now use the area to scan live videos on cameras with thermal imaging capabilities. The cameras are mounted to a drone which cruises high above the forests to scan for heat signatures poachers stalking the animals. Both the media and the scientific article have reported on the same subject matter (Montesh, 2013, pp. 12-13). However, their reporting techniques are dissimilar. Starting with language use, the diction used by Christopher Torchia is simple and narrative in nature. He talks of the historical Zulu royalty that once hunted for world life in Zulu Hills in contrast to the current purpose of the hills. While still on language, the author avoids the use of scientific names Diceros bicornis and Ceratotherium simum whose common names are black rhinoceros and the white rhinoceros. By so doing, Christopher Torchia made it easier for his article to reach a wider audience. Use of technical terms limits the audience to technocrats in that field. Mulero-Pázmán et al. (2014, pp. 1) have used years and annual statistics in their attempt to justify the need for their research. They give a detailed account of the declining numbers rhinos and rising and then declining of numbers of the animals year by year due to poaching. To show the seriousness of poaching and its consequences of species extinction, they show a classification of the Diceros bicornis and Ceratotherium simum in terms of the IUCN criteria (List, 2012).

Media Reports on RPAS Anti-Poaching Techniques

In an attempt to appeal to the readership, the author explains how the idea of the drones works. An unarmed drone, in the shape of an aircraft, is flown several kilometers away from a vehicle fitted with customized video-gaming gadgets that can zoom and swivel the camera to obtain clear images or videos. Once a poacher is spotted, communication is made to the ground crew in patrol who pursue the offender. Christopher Torchia narrates that even though drones were touted as the magic bullet to end poaching; the successes have slowed down by the poachers who are deploying counter technologies. Unlike in the scientific article by Mulero-Pázmán et al. (2014, pp. 1-14), the inclusion of the details on the workings of the drone in the media article by Anon (2017, pp. 1-3) easily resonates with the readers.


The media article steers clear of the causes of poaching, unlike the scientific article. Mulero-Pázmán et al. (2014, pp. 1-2) explain with candidness on the possible causes of poaching. They opine that poaching is a problem with a myriad of causes and therefore in need of multiple potential solutions. The horns harvested from poached rhinos are considered to be of high medicinal value particularly in Asian countries while in Yemen, certain ceremonies are regarded incomplete without a rhino horn. In this regard, the answer to taming the rising poaching lies in satiating the rising demand through other avenues. The media omits this explanation on purpose. The audience may not be interested in the causes of poaching after all.  

The scientific article explores the study area, and so does Christopher Torchia in the media article. However, the depth of coverage is dissimilar. Christopher Torchia gives a historical perspective of the Zulu Hills; the Royals used them as hunting grounds. Mulero-Pázmán et al. (2014, pp. 1-14) on the other hand describes the study area in terms of hectares. The study location was composed of 13 farms, with the smallest measuring 1,500 ha and the largest 25,000 ha; all located in KwaZulu-Natal province. The habitat of the study location comprised of forest patches and grassland serving chiefly ecotourism and hunting purposes. The researchers went a step further to offer a description of the number of black and white rhinos that they approximated to be about 500. There is little, if any, mention of the vegetation of Zulu Hills. The author did not make mention of the number of animals (white and black) rhinos in his article.


In their article, Mulero-Pázmán et al. (2014, pp. 1-14) apply the standard guidelines required in writing a scientific paper. A scientific paper is considered incomplete if it lacks the methodology. The methodology section takes the readers through the data collection and analysis tools used. The authors explain that they obtained draft regulations on aircraft use from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). Although they had not been ratified with the current standard guidelines, still permission was granted to fly them over areas occupied only by wildlife. In addition, the researchers sought the services of internationally licensed radio operators. This was aimed at ensuring that human beings are not endangered. The lack of such detailed information on data gathering and analysis and seeking help from the technocrats in the media article makes it sound like much of the information is the author’s opinion.  

Language Differences in Reporting Techniques

To gain an in-depth understanding of the poaching problem, the researchers sought the help of four resource persons who are involved with rhinoceros protection at various stages. The researchers did not seek any ethical approval because the resource Management persons did provide their names or any personal details during the interviews (Mamba, 2009, pp. 34-35). Nonetheless, they were asked to sign an informed consent in which they were informed that participation was voluntary. The four interviewees gave a verbal rendition of their role in wildlife protection during which all the conversation were tape recorded. The lack of mention of the sources and materials used to write the media article makes it easier for one to doubt its veracity.

Mulero-Pázmán et al. (2014, pp. 1-14) have also used in-text citations necessary for formal write-ups. In-text citations are critical in giving credit to the source used. Using other people’s work without acknowledging them will amount to plagiarism. In-text citations also make it easier for the research to be found in case readers use author’s names as search terms. By doing in-text citations, the author puts himself in authority showing clearly that the topic and subject matter are anchored on thorough research and analysis. The authors have also used a long list of references. Every reference used has been cited properly thereby indicating that the authors performed an adequate literature search during the study. There is no in-text citation or reference in Christopher Torchia. It leaves the readership with a not choice other than doubt the reliability of the information provided.


Lastly, data analysis is a key component in scientific articles, unlike media articles. This is very clear as Mulero-Pázmán et al. (2014, pp. 1-14) take us through a detailed account of step by step of the data analysis process. First, the images obtained after data collection were reviewed to distinguish rhinoceros, people or thickets. After grouping the images, geo-referencing followed using Eagletree GPS logger V.4. A customized version of the geo-referencing software was used to allow alignment of the plane with the pictures to generate GeoTIFF files (Dublin, 2011, pp. 2). The set-up of the machinery was done in a way that covered the whole geographical area under study. An average of 3.5 seconds was used to view each photo. Processing of each plane track took 15-20 minutes with the observer controlling the process simultaneously. In contrast, the Christopher Torchis article has no indication of the data analysis. Analyzed data shows that the information presented is true and thus its veracity can be questioned.

References

Anon, 2017. [online] Available at: https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2016-02-23/in-south-africa-drones-used-to-battle-rhino-poaching [Accessed 15 May 2017].

List, I. R. 2012. URL: https://www. iucnredlist. org/documents.

Dublin, H. T. 2011. African Elephant Specialist Group Report.

Mamba, A. 2009. Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in South Africa. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Programme Office (UASPO).

Montesh, M. (2013). Rhino poaching: A new form of organised crime. vol, 27, 1-23.

Mulero-Pázmány, M., Stolper, R., Van Essen, L.D., Negro, J.J. and Sassen, T., 2014. Remotely piloted aircraft systems as a rhinoceros anti-poaching tool in Africa. PloS one, 9(1), p.e8387

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My Assignment Help. 'Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Anti-Poaching Techniques In Conservation Biology' (My Assignment Help, 2018) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/remotely-piloted-aircraft-systems-anti-poac> accessed 03 March 2024.

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