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It’s Ladies First as African Utility Week Industry Awards Finalists Are Announced Cape Town, South Africa, May 03, 2017 --( Former South African President Nelson Mandela’s personal assistant, Zelda la Grange, is this year’s guest speaker at the awards. She currently serves as the Patron for the First for Women Foundation, is non-executive Director of the non-profit organisation Healing Hands and annually acts as a co-ordinator of Bikers for Mandela Day. The MC for the African Utility Week Industry Awards is Claire Mawisa, well-known media personality, broadcaster and Carte Blanche investigative journalist. Women are also well represented amongst the award finalists and this year four ladies grace the shortlist for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Huawei, the well-known global information and telecommunication giant, is the lead sponsor for the African Utility Week Industry Awards. List of finalists The fourth edition of the annual awards will once again honour pioneering utilities, projects and people in the energy and water industry on the continent. To reflect the evolution of the energy and water sectors, the following new categories are included this year: - Small-Scale Sustainable Energy Project (under 5MW) - Innovative Technology of the Year - Deal of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award - Azeb Asnake, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Electric Power, Ethiopia - Barry MacColl, General Manager: Research, Testing & Development, Eskom, South Africa - Dale Robertson, President, Enerscan Consultants Ltd, Canada - Des Muller, Chairman, NIASA Supply Chain Development Sub-Committee, South Africa - H.E. Dr. Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure & Energy, African Union Commission, Ethiopia - Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy & Mineral Development, Uganda - Grania Rosette Rubomboras, Programme Officer: Power Projects, Nile Basin Initiative NELSAP, Rwanda/Uganda - Helen Tarnoy, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Aldwych International Ltd, United Kingdom - Oladele Amoda, Managing Director & CEO at Eko Electricity Distribution PLC, Nigeria - Wim Jonker Klunne, Programme Director: Energy & Environment Partnership Programme, Southern and East Africa Outstanding Contribution Award: Power - Akon, Founder, Akon Lighting Africa, Various Countries - Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, Founding Partner, GreenWish Partners, France, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria - Hendrik Schloemann, Founder & CEO, Zonke Energy, South Africa - Lovemore Chilimanzi, Technical Director, Africa GreenCo, South Africa - Michael Gratwicke, Head of Energy, Rift Valley Energy, Tanzania & Zimbabwe - Sicelo Goodwill Xulu, Managing Director, City Power, South Africa Outstanding Contribution Award: Water - Chris Heymans, Senior Water & Sanitation Specialist, World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme, Kenya - Joyce Msiru, Chief Executive Officer, Moshi Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority, Tanzania - Philip Gichuki, Managing Director, Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, Kenya - Silver Mugisha, Managing Director, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda - Yolandi Schoeman, Managing Director, Baoberry, South Africa Outstanding Woman of the Year: Power/Water - Agatha Nnaji, Managing Director, Geometric Power, Nigeria - Azeb Asnake, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Electric Power, Ethiopia - Chantelle Abdul, Chief Executive Officer, MOJEC Meter Company & MOJEC Power, Nigeria - Eunice Ntobedzi, Innovator, EmPowered, Botswana - Rethabile Melamu, General Manager, Green Economy, South Africa - Rose Kaggwa, Director: Business and Scientific Services, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda - Sandisiwe Ncemane, Manager: Business Development - Energy Projects, Coega Development Corporation, South Africa - Subha Nagarajan, Managing Director, OPIC, Côte d'Ivoire More awards finalists appear on the event website for the following categories: - Young Energy Leader Award - Power Utility of the Year - Water Utility of the Year - Large Scale Renewable Energy Project - Small-Scale Sustainable Energy Project - Innovative Technology of the Year - Deal of the Year Leading water and energy platform African Utility Week takes place from 16-18 May 2017 at the CTICC in Cape Town, gathering over 7000 decision makers in the power and water sectors from more than 40 countries to source the latest solutions and meet over 300 suppliers. The expo will feature free to attend technical workshops and technology demonstrations. The event has won the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) award for the Best Trade Exhibition 6001-12000 sqm category. African Utility Week is organised by Spintelligent, a multi-award-winning exhibition and conference producer across the continent in the infrastructure, real estate, energy, mining, agriculture and education sectors. Other well-known events by Spintelligent include Agritech Expo Tanzania, CBM-TEC, Kenya Mining Forum, Future Energy East Africa (formerly EAPIC), Future Energy Nigeria (formerly WAPIC), Future Energy Central Africa (formerly iPAD Cameroon), iPAD Nigeria Mining Forum, DRC Mining Week and EduWeek. Spintelligent is part of the UK-based Clarion Events Group. Dates for African Utility Week: Conference and expo: 16-18 May 2017 Awards gala dinner: 17 May 2017 Site visits: 19 May 2017 Location: CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa Cape Town, South Africa, May 03, 2017 --( PR.com )-- This year’s African Utility Week Industry Awards in Cape Town on 17 May will have a distinctly feminine feel with an all women cast and a strong line-up of ladies among the finalists for the coveted awards for leading energy and water professionals.Former South African President Nelson Mandela’s personal assistant, Zelda la Grange, is this year’s guest speaker at the awards. She currently serves as the Patron for the First for Women Foundation, is non-executive Director of the non-profit organisation Healing Hands and annually acts as a co-ordinator of Bikers for Mandela Day.The MC for the African Utility Week Industry Awards is Claire Mawisa, well-known media personality, broadcaster and Carte Blanche investigative journalist.Women are also well represented amongst the award finalists and this year four ladies grace the shortlist for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Huawei, the well-known global information and telecommunication giant, is the lead sponsor for the African Utility Week Industry Awards.List of finalistsThe fourth edition of the annual awards will once again honour pioneering utilities, projects and people in the energy and water industry on the continent. To reflect the evolution of the energy and water sectors, the following new categories are included this year:- Small-Scale Sustainable Energy Project (under 5MW)- Innovative Technology of the Year- Deal of the YearLifetime Achievement Award- Azeb Asnake, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Electric Power, Ethiopia- Barry MacColl, General Manager: Research, Testing & Development, Eskom, South Africa- Dale Robertson, President, Enerscan Consultants Ltd, Canada- Des Muller, Chairman, NIASA Supply Chain Development Sub-Committee, South Africa- H.E. Dr. Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure & Energy, African Union Commission, Ethiopia- Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy & Mineral Development, Uganda- Grania Rosette Rubomboras, Programme Officer: Power Projects, Nile Basin Initiative NELSAP, Rwanda/Uganda- Helen Tarnoy, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Aldwych International Ltd, United Kingdom- Oladele Amoda, Managing Director & CEO at Eko Electricity Distribution PLC, Nigeria- Wim Jonker Klunne, Programme Director: Energy & Environment Partnership Programme, Southern and East AfricaOutstanding Contribution Award: Power- Akon, Founder, Akon Lighting Africa, Various Countries- Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, Founding Partner, GreenWish Partners, France, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria- Hendrik Schloemann, Founder & CEO, Zonke Energy, South Africa- Lovemore Chilimanzi, Technical Director, Africa GreenCo, South Africa- Michael Gratwicke, Head of Energy, Rift Valley Energy, Tanzania & Zimbabwe- Sicelo Goodwill Xulu, Managing Director, City Power, South AfricaOutstanding Contribution Award: Water- Chris Heymans, Senior Water & Sanitation Specialist, World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme, Kenya- Joyce Msiru, Chief Executive Officer, Moshi Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority, Tanzania- Philip Gichuki, Managing Director, Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, Kenya- Silver Mugisha, Managing Director, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda- Yolandi Schoeman, Managing Director, Baoberry, South AfricaOutstanding Woman of the Year: Power/Water- Agatha Nnaji, Managing Director, Geometric Power, Nigeria- Azeb Asnake, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Electric Power, Ethiopia- Chantelle Abdul, Chief Executive Officer, MOJEC Meter Company & MOJEC Power, Nigeria- Eunice Ntobedzi, Innovator, EmPowered, Botswana- Rethabile Melamu, General Manager, Green Economy, South Africa- Rose Kaggwa, Director: Business and Scientific Services, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda- Sandisiwe Ncemane, Manager: Business Development - Energy Projects, Coega Development Corporation, South Africa- Subha Nagarajan, Managing Director, OPIC, Côte d'IvoireMore awards finalists appear on the event website for the following categories:- Young Energy Leader Award- Power Utility of the Year- Water Utility of the Year- Large Scale Renewable Energy Project- Small-Scale Sustainable Energy Project- Innovative Technology of the Year- Deal of the YearLeading water and energy platformAfrican Utility Week takes place from 16-18 May 2017 at the CTICC in Cape Town, gathering over 7000 decision makers in the power and water sectors from more than 40 countries to source the latest solutions and meet over 300 suppliers. The expo will feature free to attend technical workshops and technology demonstrations. The event has won the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) award for the Best Trade Exhibition 6001-12000 sqm category.African Utility Week is organised by Spintelligent, a multi-award-winning exhibition and conference producer across the continent in the infrastructure, real estate, energy, mining, agriculture and education sectors. Other well-known events by Spintelligent include Agritech Expo Tanzania, CBM-TEC, Kenya Mining Forum, Future Energy East Africa (formerly EAPIC), Future Energy Nigeria (formerly WAPIC), Future Energy Central Africa (formerly iPAD Cameroon), iPAD Nigeria Mining Forum, DRC Mining Week and EduWeek. Spintelligent is part of the UK-based Clarion Events Group.Dates for African Utility Week:Conference and expo: 16-18 May 2017Awards gala dinner: 17 May 2017Site visits: 19 May 2017Location: CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from African Utility Week


van Wilgen B.W.,South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research | Biggs H.C.,Scientific Services
Biological Conservation | Year: 2011

This paper uses five inter-related topics (the management of rivers, fire regimes, invasive alien species, rare antelope and elephants) to assess 15. years of adaptive management in the Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa. The importance of adaptive planning (a process for developing achievable objectives, which is adaptive because objectives are revised as understanding grows), has been highlighted by this assessment, and the KNP's track record of adaptive planning is better than that of adaptive management. Adaptive management has identified important issues with regard to biodiversity conservation, and resulted in a shift in management focus to these issues. Because the conservation outcomes of management shifts will only manifest themselves in the longer term, the relative success of adaptive management should be measured by the degree to which management has been refocused onto priority issues, and by the rate at which new understanding is generated. Some issues previously seen as important (fire, rare antelope), are now regarded as less so, while others remain important and difficult to solve, although there has been some progress (rivers, alien plants and elephants). It has also proved difficult to implement active adaptive management (large-scale, replicated trials using different approaches), because of local variation and logistical problems. Adaptive management will remain the approach of choice because there is some progress, and no known alternative to managing this complex ecosystem. It is simply not an option to return to the easily-understood " implementable" solutions (such as culling, regular prescribed burning, or artificial water provision) that demonstrably did not work. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


News Article | December 9, 2016
Site: www.techrepublic.com

The call came at 5:30 am on a hot July morning in 2015. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department told canine trainer Todd Jordan and his detection dog Bear to meet them at a house in Zionsville, Indiana. It was "kind of a big deal," Jordan was told, but he had no idea why. Ten minutes after arriving at the large, beige brick home, he had his answer. "We're getting ready to hit Jared Fogle's house," an agent said. Investigators from the FBI, the Indianapolis police, the Indiana State Police, and the US Postal Inspection Service searched the former Subway spokesman's house for two hours, carrying away computers and electronics, looking for evidence of Fogle's alleged child pornography distribution. Then, it was Bear's turn. The black labrador retriever was trained to detect electronics—everything from thumb drives to cell phones. He can even sniff out tiny microSD cards that are less than a millimeter thick, but can hold 100s of gigabytes of data. Bear searched the entire residence. He targeted several areas in Fogle's office, and uncovered a hidden flash drive that the humans hadn't detected. When Fogle was arrested on charges of child pornography a month later, Assistant US Attorney Steven Debrota said that this piece of evidence was vital to the investigation. "I didn't realize until that time that the dog had actually found something in there—I just wasn't privy to that information," said Jordan, CEO of Jordan Detection K9. It was only the fifth time Bear had been out on a search. Fogle pleaded guilty to sex acts with minors and distribution of child pornography, and in a November 2015 verdict was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison and a $175,000 fine. Later that summer, Bear assisted in the search of the Indianapolis home and gym of US Olympics gymnastics coach Marvin Sharp. He led investigators to a gun safe, with a number of SD cards hidden inside. Sharp was arrested in August 2015 on one count of felony child molestation. "Think about a microSD card that's as big as your pinky fingernail," Jordan said. "That's what the dog is finding. It would be almost impossible for investigators." Jordan often brings electronic storage detection dogs—ESD dogs for short—like Bear into rooms stacked floor to ceiling with trash, after investigators have searched for hours. "Within 10 minutes, the dogs will hit on a box, and you open it up and there's SD cards and external hard drives," Jordan said. Today, Bear is one of a handful of ESD dogs scattered across America, who are pioneering a low-tech way to solve high-tech crimes involving child exploitation and terrorism. In 2012, Connecticut State Police Trooper First Class Mike Real was summoned to a meeting with his major, who asked if it would be possible to train a dog to locate computer hard drives. "The sergeant from the computer crimes unit relayed to us that when they executed search warrants, they were always missing something because of the nature of what they were looking for," Real said. "In conferences he attended around the country, this was a common theme." The unit was familiar with canine work: In 1986, the Connecticut State Police trained the world's first arson dog. The team looped in Dr. Jack Hubball, a chemist at the forensic laboratory in the Division of Scientific Services. "My first reaction was a lot of skepticism," Hubball said. "But I've worked with arson, drug, and bomb units for over 30 years, so I have a lot of faith in the dogs, and a lot of knowledge about what their capabilities were." Hubball examined hard drives, thumb drives, SD drives—every type of electronic storage device available. The common denominator? A circuit board. He began testing various circuit board components, and about six months later, identified a compound called triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO)—which covers the circuit boards in all storage devices from large hard drives down to microSD cards to keep them from overheating. Another compound, hydroxycyclohexyl phenyl ketone (HPK), was extracted from removable media, such as CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and even floppy disks. With the chemical key, Real and another trooper began training two labrador retrievers named Selma and Thoreau. The dogs came from New York's Guiding Eyes for the Blind, where the team also obtains its narcotics, bomb, and arson canines. "Essentially, we get their incorrigible dogs who aren't cut out for guide work, and happen to be perfect for us," Real said. Lab retrievers are the best breed for this type of work, Real said, due to their high-energy nature and strong retrieval capabilities. Similar to drug or arson detection dogs, electronics detection dogs are trained to recognize a chemical odor, and to sit when the odor is present, in order to alert their handler. When the dog correctly identifies an odor, he or she gets food. Officers begin training the dogs to identify large amounts of the compound, eventually using less and less. They place devices with the odor in different boxes, and expand the training into different rooms. The Connecticut program spends five weeks imprinting the dogs with the odor and teaching them how to do their job, and then six weeks training them to work with their handlers, Real said. "We teach them everything from searching people, boxes, bags, vehicles, outside," Real said. "Anywhere these dogs might be asked to search, we train them to work in that environment." All of Connecticut's and Jordan Detection K9's ESD dogs are on a food-reward diet: They only eat when they find a device, so handlers must be prepared to run trainings every single day to keep their skills sharp and their bellies full. After successfully completing training, yellow lab Thoreau went to the Rhode Island State Police in 2013. Black lab Selma began working with Detective George Jupin, in the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit. Selma has worked on more than 100 cases so far, primarily in child pornography, but also homicides, parolee compliance work, and a hacking case. Her strong nose helped uncover devices in recycling bins, in vents, and in radiators. "This program has absolutely turned up evidence that would have been missed or overlooked," Jupin said. "They're picking up odors that you can't. If a device is hidden in a drawer, under a table, in a vent, in a wall, the dog picks up on it." By the spring of 2015, Detective Ian Polhemus of the Seattle Police Department was emotionally exhausted. After more than seven years on the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, Polhemus was considering quitting—the number of cases of child exploitation and pornography had taken a deep mental toll. Not wanting to lose a senior detective, Polhemus' captain suggested contacting the Connecticut State Police's ESD program. "I said, 'If I could work a dog again and not have to look at child pornography, I'll stay,'" Polhemus said. After the success of Selma and Thoreau, the Connecticut State Police was planning to run a training class the following year. Polhemus was disappointed—he didn't want to wait that long to start working with a canine. Then, the Jared Fogle case hit the national news. Polhemus contacted Jordan, and two weeks later, in August 2015, he was on a plane to Indiana to purchase Bear and train for two weeks with him. The dog cost $10,000. For a month, Polhemus focused on bonding with and socializing Bear to the office and team. In September 2015, on Bear's first deployment, he found a cell phone that investigators missed. Bear's first year in Seattle, he assisted on 56 search warrants, and assisted in the identification of more than 500 devices in pre-searches. In post-searches, he uncovered 16 devices that would have otherwise been completely overlooked by the human search team, Polhemus said. That means about 25% of the time, Bear finds a device that the search team did not. "In 2016, you can't pick a crime where there might not potentially be a nexus to the storage of contraband on digital items," Polhemus said. "Gangs, drugs, homicide—it doesn't matter. These ESD dogs can be deployed in support of any criminal investigation." When Bear and Polhemus go into a residence after a search team, one team member stays behind to alert Polhemus of the areas where digital evidence was already recovered. This way, if Bear detects residue odor, Polhemus knows it is not a false positive. Bear has found storage devices in empty coffee cans, tupperware containers, and under piles of junk in his searches throughout Washington state. ESD dogs live with their handlers full time. When Bear comes home, he's a regular house dog, Polhemus said, other than the extra training exercises needed to feed him. "I had a coworker tell me several weeks after I started working with Bear, 'You know Ian, you are just such a more pleasant person now that you're working with Bear,'" he said, laughing. "I loving working the dog. He's good mental health for me. It's a great opportunity for me to still continue to support the mission of ICAC without having to do the dirty stuff." Jordan Detection K9 has since trained six ESDs, who are now working in ICAC task forces across the nation. In the chill of February 2016, the Connecticut State Police began its first full training class of five ESD labrador dogs, spending five weeks imprinting the dogs on the chemical scent. Handlers from the FBI, the Massachusetts State Police, the Southern Virginia ICAC, the St. Charles County, Missouri Police Department, and the Anchorage, Alaska Police Department arrived in March to train for an additional six weeks with their new K9 partners. Connecticut's program does not charge agencies for the dogs and training, though that might change with tightening budgets, Real said. The handlers partnered with their dogs to work through every scenario they might encounter. Police even created a bomb explosion in an empty warehouse, to demonstrate the odors found in that scene. Special Agent Jeffrey Calandra of the FBI's Newark, New Jersey Field Office was assigned an eager black lab named Iris, who started working counterintelligence investigations with him after the two graduated the program in April 2016. Common cases for Calandra involve organized crime, drug gangs, and cyber crimes, including child pornography. Iris joins Calandra on an average of one search per week, up and down the east coast. When she catches an odor, she starts to salivate, her ears perk up, her tail wags, and she starts sniffing, before sitting down to alert Calandra. "Show me," Calandra will say, and Iris will put her nose as close to the source of the odor as possible. On one search warrant, the FBI hunted through a room with a desk, and left confident that there was nothing there. But Iris alerted to something on the top drawer. Calandra opened it, but didn't see any evidence. "Show me," he said. Iris pushed her nose onto a pad of sticky notes. "I figured 'Okay, she's falsing, she hasn't been fed, so she's trying to steal food from me,'" Calandra said. He tried to pull Iris away from the desk drawer. But she pulled him back. Again, he said "Show me," and again, she put her nose on the sticky notes. He took everything out of the drawer, but still didn't see anything of value. Once more, Calandra commanded, "Show me." Iris picked up the pad of sticky notes with her mouth, and flipped it over. A microSD card fell out. "She was correct, and I was wrong," Calandra said. "Either the individual was concealing it, or it happened to get stuck in between the pad, and you just couldn't see it. That's why the dogs are good." Calandra trains Iris to find devices in fake shaving cream cans, fake coins, and books with pages cut out to conceal something. "I'll put a phone in a book, and I'll put the book on a shelf with 300 other books, and she'll put her nose right on the book with the phone in it," Calandra said. "It's insane." False positives are usually not a problem, Calandra said. "I'm not really worried about the false positives as much as I am if she misses something," he said. "But there hasn't been a case where the dog has missed something." Dogs like Iris have helped the FBI "tremendously," said Laura Robinson, special agent and coordinator for the FBI Evidence Response Team at the Newark Field Office. "Thumb drives can be disguised as pens, toys, thumb tacks, almost anything," she said. "They're going to find things we wouldn't have any hope of finding. The more sophisticated our target, the more helpful they can be." FBI Supervisory Special Agent Brian Herron, in a previous position at the Newark Field Office, was part of the team that approved the purchase of Iris. "We get status reports on what the dog finds," Herron said. While there is not yet data on the amount of evidence Iris has brought in, "she has definitely expanded the capabilities of identifying and locating evidence," Herron said. It may be best if technology companies don't know too much about the capabilities of the ESD dogs, Calandra said. "For us, it's a tool for criminal cases," he said. "I'm sure people are going to try to find ways to combat her abilities, which is why we try to limit what we say or some of the ways people hide things. I don't want to give people ideas on how to combat it." Before starting Jordan Detection K9, Jordan trained Bear and other ESD dogs while working for Tactical Detection K-9, a company based in Louisville, Kentucky and owned by Dennis Clark. Clark has worked with canines for more than 30 years, training more than 1,500 drug dogs, bomb dogs, and cadaver dogs across his career. Interest in ESD dogs rose quickly after the Fogle case hit headlines, Clark said. "We had those dogs for sale for a year and never got a bite," Clark said. "The Jared thing happened, and 'bam!' everybody wanted one." As with many detection dogs, the market for ESD dogs fluctuates according to domestic and world events, Clark said. For example, after the Boston bombing, many police departments wanted a bomb dog. Eventually the craze dies down. Only drug dogs remain a mainstay in police departments, he said. Thus far, typically only large police departments have the need and the budget to purchase an electronics dog, Clark said. But interest from the private sector is growing steadily. One large company, who Clark describes as "not Google, but along those lines," recently approached Clark asking him to train dogs to identify bugging devices in corporate offices or the CEO's home, to combat corporate espionage. The company is funding the Tactical Detection K-9 research on these devices, Clark said. In August, Clark began working with a lab to find the main odor elements. Once isolated, Clark will train a bug detection dog for them, and market the service to other companies as well. He said he plans to have the research completed this fall, and the training finished by May. While drug and bomb dogs sell from around $4,500 to $5,500, ESD dogs from private sellers like Clark go for $9,500 to $11,000, he said. There are electronics detection devices on the market, such as the wands used at TSA checkpoints. But they often give false readings, Clark said. "Those machines are expensive, and are always breaking down or being outdated," Clark said. "Even though it may seem old-school using a dog, there is no technology that can match their natural, God-given gifts." Tactical Detection K9's second ESD dog, Daisy, was sold to private contractor Spartan K9 in 2015. "We decided to purchase a dog capable of doing that type of work to learn more about how to train the dog more successfully," said Fred Hopper, CEO of Spartan K9. "The biggest goal was to get a better understanding of the olfactory of the dogs, and how to marry up a sharp training program to the right type of dog, so you can get a dog in the field without a high false indication rate." Spartan K9 now has four ESD dogs, two of which are in service for searches, while the other two are used for research and development. Hopper said could not discuss any cases due to confidentiality agreements and ongoing law enforcement investigations. More private companies are investigating training ESD dogs, Hopper said. Generally, the training is being done in-house, in similar ways to the Connecticut State Police program. "There aren't a lot of new ways to train dogs," Hopper said. "These are tried and true methods that ring true for any style of scent dogs." The private industry canine model as a whole has grown due to terrorism threats, Hopper said. It's more common now to see private contract canines than in years past, he added, and he believes the industry will continue to grow. "The fact that a dog can locate these types of devices leaves a lot of room for companies worried about the loss of their data or anything confidential," Hopper said. "These dogs have the ability to help with that as a screening process, and make sure information that's considered private isn't filtered out. In the world of technology, a lot of patent secrets and trade stuff all needs to be protected." Spartan K9 has also been approached by a large tech company to discuss providing a dog, Hopper said. "We don't look at man's best friend as an asset of technology, which we've proven working in this field," Hopper said. "The first use of a canine in helping get a crime solved was about 100 years ago. Here we are so far down the road, and the dog is still the gold standard." Humans are "not even close" to tapping the full potential of canine abilities, said Craig Angle, co-director of the Canine Performance Sciences (CPS) program at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine, which researches the science behind canine detection. "The dog's capability is far greater than what we're currently training them to do," Angle said. "They come pre-programmed with 30,000 years of searching techniques, and a lot of times we as humans get in the way of that. We think we understand what odor does, and how it operates for a dog, but a lot of things I've seen through the years show they have far greater capabilities than what we've used them for in the past." Angle said he's seen dogs identify very small targets from very far distances. "I've seen them detect two ounces of explosives from more than 300 yards away," he said. "They can detect through barriers and masking agents. We see a lot of natural instincts in a dog's ability to detect innate behaviors like understanding and utilizing wind currents and scent plume." CPS researchers examine ways to utilize canine detection across different industries. "We study their capabilities for different targets, such as explosives," Angle said. "We're moving a lot into biological targets, especially in the medical field, learning if they can detect cancer." The lab, founded in 1990, is currently researching dogs' ability to detect the odor of different viruses. "With odor, we're studying something we can't see and is difficult to measure, especially the concentrations dogs can smell," Angle said. "They can smell thresholds that advanced chemical detection technologies can't measure." Dogs can detect odors in the parts-per-trillion range, but some experts believe they can smell even smaller quantities. "We're limited now in the science of understanding and measuring odor," Angle said. We also haven't yet discovered how dogs can be fully used for mobile real-time detection, Angle said. "The public doesn't know, and there are hardly any research dollars out there," he said. Much of the research done by the lab, including the virus work, is funded by private individuals. Back at the Connecticut State Police Forensic Laboratory, Hubball is working to identify the lowest detectable limit for the dogs. "We've gone down to very low part-per-million levels, and we're now going to be working on some higher part-per-billion levels of the TPPO," he said. So far, the dogs can detect even miniscule levels of the compound, he said. With seven of its dogs currently retrieving evidence in the field, the Connecticut State Police will likely run another training class of at least three dogs in 2017, Real said. Along with child exploitation work, the dogs are also being used in terrorism cases, the details of which are confidential. Connecticut has hosted canine trainers from the UK, and Australian officials have expressed interest in adopting the program as well. Initially, the Connecticut trainers did not plan on releasing the chemical Hubbell isolated. But with interest from around the world, the department decided to hold a "train the trainer" program at the beginning of 2016 for the ICAC community, and inform the masses. "I don't want to see someone using it long-term with inadequate training," Real said. "But the ultimate goal is to catch the bad guy. That's what this is about, and it's an awkward spot to tell another law enforcement agency, 'I'm not telling you what we did.' We figured it was time. People are going to do what they're going to do." This is what enabled private companies like Jordan Detection K9 to begin training on it as well. Another concern voiced by some law enforcement agents: If tech companies know the compound these dogs are tracking, they may try to make storage devices without it. But Hubbell said he doesn't foresee this happening widely. "This is a very inexpensive industrial chemical, and it works very effectively, and I don't think we're going to have a major shift in the types of materials that are used to make the chips," Hubbell said. "I don't think it's quite possible to mask the odor in this scenario, because you've got these circuit boards in the devices." While Connecticut's program currently only trains dogs for law enforcement, Real said he thinks doing so for corporations could be an option in the future. "They don't want to see things walking out the door that shouldn't be walking out the door," Real said. "If they felt there was an application in their situation, at least they will know that there's a chance of solving a problem they might have." Hubbell sums up the feeling many officers and citizens experience upon watching the ESD dogs uncover evidence. "The perception of having something such as a dog—your pet—being capable of doing this kind of thing is amazing."


Kingsford R.T.,University of New South Wales | Biggs H.C.,Scientific Services | Pollard S.R.,Association for Water and Rural Development AWARD
Biological Conservation | Year: 2011

Aquatic ecosystems are connected over large spatial scales, have varied drivers, strong and often conflicting societal interests and interacting management processes. Many of the world's protected areas (100,000, ~12% of land) include freshwater ecosystems, some specifically declared for freshwater protection, but often supplied by rivers outside their protected boundaries. Such complex socio-ecological systems have considerable challenges. We report on Strategic Adaptive Management (SAM), a management framework that should be implemented, irrespective of resourcing, in protected areas of any river system, ranging from heavily managed or regulated through to pristine rivers. We briefly outline the four stages of the SAM process for aquatic protected areas and present three case studies from South Africa and Australia in different stages of SAM implementation. Progress is incremental, reflecting gaps, problems, and socio-ecological dynamism. Real-world implementation usually means such management is passive although experimentation with environmental flows remains possible. While maturity in SAM is incremental over years or decades, it can and should be applied even if environmental problems are urgent and contentious. The stages of SAM should produce an agreed vision and/or mission among stakeholders, with an appropriate hierarchy of objectives that determines indicators to be measured, allowing ongoing reflection, learning and adaptation. There is no panacea for achieving aquatic conservation, but Strategic Adaptive Management offers hope with its interlinked processes for navigating complexity and learning. SAM in freshwater conservation is progressing because of the imperative for sustainability, history of interaction between scientists and managers and the need for transdisciplinary governance of rivers. © 2010.


Ferreira S.M.,Scientific Services | Pienaar D.,Scientific Services
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2011

1. Top predators such as crocodiles often reflect ecosystem degradation. The recent spate of close to 200 Nile crocodile deaths may reflect the ecosystem state of the Olifants-Letaba River system in the Kruger National Park. This paper investigates whether the crocodile deaths were indeed the consequence of a rare and perhaps acute event given the variability in annual population growth rates of crocodilians. 2. Spotlight- and helicopter-based surveys designed to correct for availability and detectability bias were used to estimate population sizes of crocodiles from 2008 to 2010 in and around the Olifants River Gorge, the focal area of crocodile deaths. 3. Correction factors derived from individually observed crocodiles for both spotlight- and helicopter-based counts were lower than those typically used for Nile crocodiles as well as other crocodile species. Even so, corrected spotlight- and helicopter-based estimates were comparable and the number of crocodiles in the focal study area declined significantly from 780 (95% CI: 637-1222) to between 460 (spotlight estimate, 95% CI 375-665) and 505 (aerial estimate, 95% CI: 559-1746) during the period of crocodile deaths. The average annual decline of 35% was at the lower end of the distribution of annual population growth rates across the rivers of Kruger National Park. 4. The crocodile deaths reflect a possible rare event that suggests a degraded crocodile population, possibly the consequences of broad-scale cascades of environmental deterioration of the Olifants-Letaba River system. 5. Even so, the potential risk of local demise of the population in the focal study area in the short term may be diminished through evolutionary, demographic and spatial resilience inherent within crocodiles that can accommodate the as yet unknown disease dynamics of pansteatitis. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd..


Kraaij T.,Scientific Services
South African Journal of Botany | Year: 2010

This paper evaluates the history of fire management in the Bontebok National Park (3435 ha) over a period of almost four decades. A GIS database was compiled of all fires between 1972 and 2009 and the fire regime was analysed in terms of the frequency, season, size and cause of fires. Since the early 1970s, short interval burning was implemented to promote grazing for bontebok, but from 2004 the fire interval was lengthened to favour plant species diversity, an increasingly urgent conservation priority for the park. In total, 43 fires were recorded, ranging in size from 9 to 1007 ha, collectively spanning 14. 013 ha. The majority of fires were large (100-500 ha), with fires of >100 ha accounting for 96% of the area burnt. The overall mean fire return period (FRP) for the park was 7.2 years, which is short judged by fynbos standards. FRPs under the old and new management regimes were 6.7 and 10.9 years respectively. Under the old regime, FRPs in renosterveld and fynbos were 5.8 and 8.0 years respectively. Large parts of the park repeatedly experienced fires at immature vegetation ages resulting in the elimination of slow-maturing seed-regenerating plant species such as Protea repens. Post-fire age distribution was highly skewed towards young vegetation, with 75% of fire-prone vegetation burning at post-fire ages of ≤7 years, and <10% of fire-prone vegetation surviving beyond 10 years of age. Prescribed and accidental fires respectively accounted for 70% and 30% of the total area burnt. Prescribed burning was mostly done in March-April, and only 8% of the total area burnt, burnt outside of the ecologically acceptable fire season. This study identified areas which have been subject to ecologically appropriate and inappropriate fire return intervals, providing a basis for informed future management and research. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Understanding animal abundances and population trends is a fundamental goal of ecology. The aim of this study was to examine local ecological knowledge (LEK) held by local people bordering the northern Gonarezhou National Park (GNP), Zimbabwe, concerning domestic and wild animal species abundances and perceived population trends, in order to evaluate the possible contribution of LEK to wildlife conservation and management. Data were collected through interviews using a semi-structured questionnaire from 236 local people in communities adjacent to the northern GNP from December 2010 to May 2011. The results show that perceptions of domestic animal population trends were mixed, with 44% of the respondents perceiving an increase, 36% perceiving a decline, and 20% perceiving that domestic animal populations had remained the same between 2000 and 2010. Furthermore, about 76% of the respondents perceived that wild animal abundances had increased, 15% perceived a decline, and 9% perceived that wild animal abundances had remained the same in GNP between 2000 and 2010. Responses on perceptions of animal population trends were to a great extent in line with recorded population trends from conventional scientific studies. The study results suggest that LEK may serve as a valuable source of ecological information and could compliment scientific information for wildlife conservation and management, particularly in community-based natural resources management programmes.© Edson Gandiwa.


Smit I.P.J.,Scientific Services | Ferreira S.M.,Scientific Services
Biological Conservation | Year: 2010

The potential consequences of growing elephant populations are a cause of debate and concern in many African conservation areas. Even though space use of elephants is central to understanding their biodiversity consequences, few studies explicitly consider how different management strategies influence elephants' spatial utilization of landscapes. Here we study elephant's spatial dispersion patterns in relation to different sized rivers under different management regimes by analyzing aerial census data collected annually during the mid dry-season between 1985 and 2007 across the 19,485km2 Kruger National Park. We found that different sized rivers can be used as a simple proxy for elephant density gradients in the dry-season. This has implications for stratifying and designing elephant impact monitoring programmes in semi-arid savannas. Furthermore, we found that dry-season elephant densities increased around rivers in a period after culling was stopped and large-scale artificial water provision reduced. Most importantly, these localized density increases were not spatially homogeneous, with culling and water provision having a greater suppressing effect on the localized densities around larger rivers than around smaller rivers and areas far removed from rivers. Assuming a positive correlation between elephant density and elephant impact, the impact of elephants around larger rivers has increased disproportionably compared to areas around smaller rivers and areas far removed from rivers since management stopped culling and reduced large-scale water provision. Since areas around the larger rivers have unique functional, structural and compositional characteristics, they should receive specific attention in impact monitoring programmes and elephant management policies. Furthermore, we recommend that if artificial waterholes are provided in semi-arid systems, it should not be located close to rivers that are mostly dry nor in areas far from rivers as this may compromise the spatio-temporal refugia that these areas afford aspects of biodiversity that are sensitive to continuous elephant impact. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


There was concerted effort, especially between the 1960s and 1990s, to increase the distribution of surface water in Kruger National Park (KNP). As a consequence, most of the park was within easy walking distance of a permanent water source for large, mobile herbivores during the peak of the water-for-game programme. This situation was unnatural and led to various unintended ecological effects. In reaction to this and in response to changing conservation and management paradigms, the water provision policy was revised in 1997. Since the policy change, about two-thirds of the more than 300 boreholes have been closed and many catchment dams have been breached in an ongoing process. This new approach towards water provision has a strong spatial focus and aims to recreate and mimic a more natural mosaic of spatio-temporal variability in surface water availability. KNP managers hope that the change in water provision will induce spatial and temporal variation in how elephants utilize landscapes, which is a key objective of the current KNP Elephant Management Plan. Although it seems unlikely that the reduced availability of water has had any numerical effects on the elephant population thus far, it did induce some spatial changes: elephants are now even more strongly attracted to the large river systems than before. More research is needed to ascertain whether surface water manipulation in KNP, where water is naturally relatively widely distributed, is effective in creating spatio-temporal refugia for biodiversity that are sensitive towards elephant impacts. © 2013, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. All rights reserved.


News Article | March 29, 2016
Site: phys.org

The FBI may not quickly share the technique it used with local law enforcement agencies, New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday. And even if it does, the hack may be too expensive for district attorneys' offices, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has said. Also, technology experts said it is not at all certain whether the technique can work with other types of iPhones. While the San Bernardino case involved an extremist attack Dec. 2 that killed 14 people, investigators across the U.S. are seeking access to iPhones in drug cases and other crimes, arguing that encryption features prevent them from gathering valuable information such as the identity of the person a victim last talked to or texted. "This is really a victims' rights issue," said District Attorney Daniel Conley in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, which includes Boston. "A lot of people view this through a national security lens and that is important, but my job is to serve victims of crime, and a lot of them aren't going to get the opportunity for justice they deserve." Conley said his office has more than 50 phones it has warrants for but can't crack. Manhattan officials said they have at least 200 Apple devices inaccessible to prosecutors out of a total of 734 seized between October 2014 and February 2016. The devices were taken during investigations of attempted murder, child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, child pornography, assault, robbery and identity theft. "This isn't just an issue resonating in California or New York. The decision by these companies unilaterally to encrypt these devices and make them warrant-proof is going to have a significant impact on prosecutions around the country," Vance said in a recent interview. Vance told Congress earlier this month that other district attorneys are facing similar challenges. He cited Harris County, Texas, saying the DA there last year encountered more than 100 encrypted Apple devices in cases involving human trafficking, street crime and sexual assault. Vance said Chicago's Cook County cyber lab received 30 encrypted devices in a recent two-month span, and the Connecticut Division of Scientific Services has encountered 46 encrypted Apple devices. The Justice Department declined through a spokeswoman to comment Tuesday. But a law enforcement official said the FBI would continue to aid its local and state partners with gaining evidence in cases—implying that the method used in the San Bernardino case would be shared with them. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to publicly comment. Vance and other law enforcement officials, though, have called for a federal law governing when a company can be forced to help authorities unlock a phone. "A workable balance between privacy and public safety can only be set by Congress," he said in a statement Tuesday. Bratton, too, said the FBI's success in breaking into gunman Syed Farook's iPhone without Apple's help does not do away with the need for a comprehensive solution. "They may have dealt with this one," he said, "but there will be others coming down the pike very quickly." Explore further: NYC police: Criminals say Apple encryption a 'gift from God'

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