Four ground teams of five people were launched at KNP and three at UNP (Fig 2). KNP was covered almost entirely. For UNP, the 3 teams covered the least human impacted zones, located through analysis of the aerial survey results. Each team leader was joined by 4 ICCN guards. Team leaders at KNP were Fidele Amsini, Boniface Npembo, Guillain Mitamba and Chryso Vyahavwa from WCS-DRC. Team leaders at UNP were Hilde Vanleeuwe (WCS-ROC), Cyril Pélissier (WWF-RCA) and Arno Gotanegre. Team leaders were in charge of data collecting, two guards focus on one side of the transect, one guard walks ahead to free the way for the team and one guard is a porter. GPS waypoints were taken for all animal and human signs. Recorded information includes species, the type of sign (i.e. dung, prints, carcass, heard, observed, camps, bullets, traps, roads, charcoal, logging, dugouts, etc), the number and age of signs (fresh < 24hrs; recent < 1 week; old > 1 week) and the surrounding vegetation (grassland; wooded grassland; open forest; closed forest; wetlands).
The survey method consisted of Recce-Transects in which Transects (T) are straight lines of 500m and Recces (R) are routes of least resistance (i.e. animal trails) between transects. All signs of animals and humans were recorded along 76 T’s intersected by ~862km R’s in selected areas of UNP, and 96 T’s intersected by ~ 332km R’s in KNP (Fig 2). R’s represent mainly trails and trails are not representative of the overall environment, but they do permit to find species that would much less likely be recorded on T’s evenly distributed in monitored environment. Unlike R’s, data results of T’s can be compared between T’s and be extrapolated the entire monitored environment.
Figure 2: Transects in KNP and UNP