Africa: Live app gets Facebook plugin

2013-07-23 12:00
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Cape Town - A locally developed Facebook application will hopefully contribute to the development of tourism as well as make an impact on rhino poaching in South Africa, the developer has said.

Satpack Travel on Tuesday announced the launch of the Facebook application for its Africa: Live application that allows users to map the locations of big game.

The marketing tool on the social network can assist the operators of reserves to attract tourists, the company said.

"This unique free marketing tool enables lodges, operators and reserves to bring to life in really dynamic way the amazing experiences their clients are enjoying every day of the year within their own social media pages where it can be shared immediately with other potential guests," Satpack Travel said in a statement.

The Africa: Live application has been a hit with smartphone users. It has scored over 12 000 sightings from 22 000 people in 13 African countries, but the company said that users want more than just the location of animals.

Rhino poaching

"We noticed that our followers were watching sightings happen on our website from all over the world," said Rob Maclean, Satpack managing director.

"They weren't using it to find animals whilst in the parks, but almost as an entertainment channel to follow raw nature unfold in wild Africa. They don't just want to know what was where and when, but they want to see pictures. So the new app and website is all about showcasing sightings photos."

The application also contributes to limiting rhino poaching in that results of rhino locations are never published to ensure the safety of the animals heavily targeted by criminal syndicates.

According to StopRhinoPoaching.com, 446 rhino have been poached in SA in 2013. Figures from 2012 indicate that poachers killed 668 rhino in South Africa, a 50% increase over the previous year.

The information provided by the app has also played a role in helping conservation efforts.

"Thanks to apps like Africa: Live anyone, anywhere can now easily play a crucial role in conserving Africa's wildlife simply by using the app to record which animals they see and where they see them - both inside and outside of protected areas," said Dr Tali Hoffman, Endangered Wildlife Trust MammalMAP project manager.

The Africa: Live app has been updated to allow offline maps and the company said that the Android application will be updated within weeks.


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