Africa has a median age of 19 and 444 million unique mobile subscribers. In this paper we suggest ways to utilise space-based technology, such as mobile, for positive animal welfare impact within a One Health framework. One Health as a concept is the understanding that “human health and animal health are interdependent and bound to the health of the ecosystems in which they exist” (OIE, 2019). Through using interoperable platforms and tools for collecting, analysing and disseminating information, space-based technology can provide a link between animal welfare, wildlife and environmental conservation that helps increase our understanding of the relationships between these different disciplines, facilitating the One Health approach.
This paper describes how The Donkey Sanctuary uses global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), accessed through a mobile device, to determine the geolocation of animal welfare assessment data. This includes the software, platforms and products used. We concentrate on open-source or low cost solutions that are suitable for resource constrained environments such as those found in many parts of Africa.
We also present methods for analysing multiple data sets linking animal welfare, wildlife and environmental conservation, such as disease outbreaks or wildlife populations combined with remote sensing products (e.g. climate indicators or socioeconomics) to investigate significant relationships and act as a diagnostic aid. We outline our use of space-based technology from collection, publication, uptake, through to impact, including the challenges associated with such an approach.
Space-based technology has the potential to improve our understanding of animal welfare across Africa within a One Health framework. We have shown how the collection of welfare assessment data on mobile devices can be integrated with other space-based technologies to provide insights and actionable results. The rapid change and growth of space-based technology means we need to be agile in our approach to the changing nature of data.