The handling of drones and the GPS positioning system are some of the tools available to the park rangers’ foot forces of the Ministry of the Environment (MiAmbiente) at the national level, which allows them to significantly improve the task of caring for and monitoring protected areas.
This advance is part of the Control and Surveillance Project carried out by the Directorate of Protected Areas and Biodiversity. The project is developed together with the Environmental Information Directorate who train the safeguards of protected areas that cover almost 30% of the national territory.
Shirley Binder, director of Protected Areas and Biodiversity, assures that lThe idea is to provide drones, cameras and computers to the park rangers of each protected area and train them in their use.
“Our primary intention is the care and monitoring of protected areas, so it will have a positive impact on the preparation of more complete reports. and systematic on environmental crimes committed within its perimeters, which may be presented as robust evidence in criminal and administrative proceedings that arise as a result of any crime that threatens the natural heritage of these areas”, stressed the director.
“Not only will it allow (the park rangers) the proper handling of the equipment, but also to transfer that information to the technical reports, which will strengthen the evidence that we can use in the processes,” reiterated Binder, stating that in addition to the aspect of prosecute crime, there is a human element, since with these tools the conditions of the park ranger are improved by having a tool It will allow you to gain control of a large amount of space without having to travel great distances on foot.
Diana Laguna, director of Environmental Information described as transcendental that the rangers handle this technology, since it comes to supply the need for personnel to protect protected areas, which will never be enough to cover these large extensions, applying state-of-the-art and high-precision tools.
“For example, they will be able to take images in real time, which allows mapping of the sites, an element that can be added to the file and initiate the corresponding legal process,” Laguna explained.
On the other hand, Fanny González, head of the Department of Control and Surveillance of Protected Areas, indicated that At the national level, MiAmbiente has 203 park rangers who have to deal with risk situations in the face of the increase in crimes against the environment, among which poaching, illegal logging, illegal mining and land invasions that often have the support of criminal organizations stand out.
Panama has more than 100 protected areas at the national level that comprises 30% of the country’s surface, and involves land and marine areas.