“Getting back country, looking after country and getting control of the future...”

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Digital connections to Aboriginal country will revolutionise cultural and conservation management

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A new project in West Australia’s Kimberley will use cutting-edge technology to create digital connections to country, helping maintain and teach Aboriginal culture and to better help in the fight against Australia’s appalling species extinction rate. Pirra Pani Pijarra: Desert Eyes and Ears project, is a collaboration between Environs Kimberley and the Karajarri Aboriginal Rangers and community. The project has the potential to modernise and dramatically improve conservation and cultural management.  

Google thinks it’s a great idea; that’s why the project has been shortlisted for funding in this year’s Google Impact Challenge Australia. All it needs is your vote to make it happen.

Australia is the world’s worst country in the extinction of native plants and animals. More than 1,800 plant and animal species and ecological communities are under threat right now. The current approach to monitoring threatened species is severely limited, as it relies on seasonally restricted on-country visits, using outdated monitoring equipment from which trained scientists collect the data and slowly process it manually.

This project will deploy a digital network of equipment (e.g. cameras, sensors) in a remote part of the Kimberley, allowing real-time monitoring (collecting live imagery and sounds) of important cultural sites and species via satellite from the Karajarri Ranger base. Importantly, new software will allow automatic processing of the data (e.g. identification of animal species), saving a lot of time and enabling rangers to analyse the data, reducing the need for external experts. The useful insights gained from this increase in data will then assist the rangers with their conservation management activities across their Indigenous Protected Area.

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The project will allow the Karajarri Aboriginal community to maintain digital connection to country and monitor sites remotely between on-country visits. In addition, a virtual on-country classroom will be established in the Karajarri community, displaying real-time images and sounds of remote important cultural sites, creating an immersive experience for Karajarri to virtually connect to country, and transfer cultural knowledge and ceremonies to the next generation and general public.

This project can be applied across Australia, furthering our connection to and understanding of Aboriginal culture, whilst aiding managers to halt the decline of wildlife in Australia.

The Pirra Pani Pijarra project has been awarded as a finalist in the Google Impact Challenge Australia 2018, but needs to secure as many votes as possible to be awarded the public vote and receive the one million dollars funding required to activate the project.

Please go to the Google impact challenge website to VOTE and read more about the project.

https://bit.ly/2QQ5QTp

Voting must be done before the 30th of October.

By voting for this project you are changing the tide of extinction in Australia, ensuring ongoing connection to country for Aboriginal people and ensuring that there are more boots on the ground getting outstanding results.The consent determination, which was delivered by Justice Barker at Ardyaloon (One Arm Point) community on the Dampier Peninsula, recognises both exclusive and non-exclusive native title rights across 3,833 square km of land and water north of Derby.