Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry where livestock keepers continuously migrate with their herds. Sudanese pastoralists have adopted seasonal migration which involves exploiting rangeland areas when conditions are favorable and avoiding them when conditions deteriorate. Currently, pastoralism generates 80% of the countries total livestock wealth, livestock includes over 20 million cattle, 50 million sheep, and 3 million camels (1). Problems are arising however where misinformed governments creating biased legislation that is wrongfully dictating that the best way to rear these animals is using western methods of ranching. (2) So far, this has resulted in more than half of livestock wealth throughout Sudan being lost to political turmoil.
Field researchers throughout the Sahel are attempting to generate vital information to help explain the scientific rationale for pastoralism, which would in turn positively influence government policies regarding the planning and delivery of crucial basic services (3). Murhal intends to assist these field researchers in gathering the quantitative information they need.
Multiple devices would be installed along key livestock corridors, recording information as herds pass by. Murhal’s use of a 6 axis gyroscope and accelerometer allows it to operate completely autonomously over the course of a year. This autonomy will allow researchers to focus upon producing human-centered research when they visit pastoral communities whilst Murhal gathers information such as herd size, temperature, photos of the surrounding landscape, etc.
(1) 1998 Charles R Lane: Custodians of the Commons, Pastoral Land Tenure in East & West Africa.
(2) 1995 David Anderson & Richard Grove: Conservation in Africa, People, Policies & Practice.
(3) 2013 Hussein Sulieman, Roy Behnke, and Zoe Cormack: Pastoralism in Practice: Monitoring Livestock Mobility in Contemporary Sudan.
(4) 2018 Iffat Idris: Livestock and conflict in South Sudan