Mathias D'haen

Operations manager,

Odzala-Kokoua NP, African Parks

After finishing a bachelor program in Biology at the University of Antwerp, the city I grew up in, I decided to do a master program at the Czech University of life Sciences. I had always been interested in the endemic species of the Congo basin and therefore sought, with the help of my professors at CZU, for an interesting master thesis project in this region. In September 2016 I started researching the highly endangered Kordofan giraffe in Garamba National Park in the northeastern corner of the DR Congo. As my research was focused on the spatial ecology of these giraffe I developed a good understanding of GIS. After my research I continued working in Garamba NP as a spatial analyst and was employed by African Parks, an organization managing a wide number of parks in Africa. With the help of aerial imagery, GPS collars and open source data such as NASA wildfires we could monitor activities in the Park from our offices and anticipate on poaching incidents. In September 2019, and after almost 3 years in Garamba NP, I started working in Odzala Kokoua NP, helping the park set up a new control room.

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