Cape Town – Proudly South African wildlife spotting app Latest Sightings is flying the flag for Mzansi, after being named one of the Top 5 Most innovative apps for culture and tourism in the world.
This award was accepted by South African app founder Nadav Ossendryver, at the recentWorld Summit Award (WSA) Innovation Congress, held in Singapore in June this year.
It brought together the world’s best developers, leaders of government, industry, academia, and civil society for thought leadership and broad discussions on how quality e-Content shapes today’s digital society.
Ossendryver, now 20, designed the technology at age 15, after visiting the Kruger National Park with his parents.
Channelling his passion for wildlife, conservation and his love of the Kruger Park, he created the online, real-time, wildlife spotting service.
Latest Sightings uses the concept of crowd-sourcing, combining social media such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and BBM groups across all smartphone platforms to inform visitors to the park (as well as enthusiasts worldwide) where interesting animals and birds are spotted.
The Kruger Sightings YouTube Channel is the most-watched South African based channel with almost 300 000 subscribers and almost 332 million views.
The mention of Latest Sightings in this global award comes at a time when wildlife sightings apps’ contribution to conservation is being questioned in South Africa.
In SA’s most prominent wildlife destination – the Kruger National Park – South African National Parks (SANParks) has curtailed the use of wildlife spotting apps like Latest Sightings, saying the technology has “become a major cause for concern” for the overall well-being of the wildlife.
But Ossendryver, responding to SANParks’ announcement, says his technology has wildlife conservation at its core. He told Traveller24 his invention, when it was launched in 2011, “was developed with the ethos of enriching people’s wildlife experience”.
He also says his now-thriving business has “worked closely with SANParks and will continue to do so through firstly, protecting our precious wildlife and secondly, enriching people’s wildlife experiences.”
In June this year, Ossendryver was also named as one of Africa’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs on the Forbes list for Under 30s for 2016.
WSA Innovation Congress Singapore 2016 recognises the part digital innovation plays in creating sustainable social change and impact.
The awards that are organised in the framework of the United Nation Information Society United Nations, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations Development Programme as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).