Francis Odinakachukwu Okeke, Nigeria

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Francis Odinakachukwu Okeke 

2019 Status:    email      #Remote #GIS  #Wildlife   #Park   #Species    #Tracking  #2015Scholar  #2015Talk  #Talk  #Scholar #Nigeria  #Africa

LINKEDIN:   GIS | Remote Sensing | Data Science | Programming | GIS & Database Manager at WCSd

FRANCIS'  WEBSITE:   Francis Okeke: GIS & Remote Sensing, Data Science & Machine Learning,  Database Admin & Computer Programming, Decision Support Systems

“Francis Okeke is a GIS specialist with professional experience encompasses over a decade years of practical working experience in GIS and Remote Sensing application in environmental modeling, Agriculture, poverty mapping, M & E, health and conservation GIS both in national and regional projects.  He has completed both a professional GIS/Remote Sensing course at International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Netherlands and a master’s level GIS application in networking modeling in addition to an independent study in GIS/Remote Sensing. ….He has a good understanding of GIS theory and practice, remote sensing applications and skilled in web-based GIS, Database, AutoCAD, QGIS, ERDAS IMAGINE, MapInfo, IDRISI, ArcGIS, ArcGIS Pro, and other ESRI products……Francis Okeke  works for U.S-based Conservation NGO (WCS) as their GIS and Database Manager since 2008, the scopes of works include extraction of field data collected with use of GPS, Cybertracker device, using GIS software to analyze the data and to generate the required output which ranges from distance cover during fieldwork or patrol by anti-poaching rangers, area covered (patrol effort maps), time taken etc.   Francis has been involved in several GIS related projects both as a resource person for GIS training and GIS analyst for the project across fields (Agriculture, conservation, transportation, climate change, News mapping, Monitoring and Result Measurement). He has helped several post-graduate students in the analysis of their dissertation with the use of GIS methodology.”


2015 SCGIS Conference Presentation:   "Analysis of Land Cover Change in the Cross River Gorilla Landscape *

Presenter: Francis Okeke Odinakachukwu, Wildlife Conservation Society,

The principal goal of this study is to detect changes in land cover (specifically, deforestation) from 1986 to 2010 in the Cross River Gorilla landscape using multi-temporal remotely sensed images. Spectral enhancements (Principal Component Analysis and Tasseled Cap Transformation) were utilized to improve interpretability, reduce information redundancy before using unsupervised ISODATA classification technique. The accuracy assessment shows an average overall accuracy and Kappa values of 93.1% and 0.91, respectively for 1986, 2000 and 2010. This result is slightly above the minimum mapping accuracy of 90% required by most VCS AFOLU methodologies. From the analysis of multi-temporal change for two time periods (1986-2000 and 2000-2010), it is apparent that the deforestation rate has significantly increased in the 2000-2010 period (2.22%) from the rate seen in the 1986-2000 period (0.09%). Overall, the result shows a staggering loss of 21.15% of the forest in the Afi-Mbe-Okwangwo landscape from 1986 to 2010. The outcome of this study will help to evaluate options for different land uses including REDD+ activities that will contribute to local development, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation by state and federal ministries of forestry/environment.



2015 Profile:  *-Organization name: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
*-Organization full street address : Plot 302, Bishop Moynagh Avenue,State Housing
Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
*-Country: Nigeria
*-Work phone with country and area code: 234 90 32353912
*-Main email:
*-Organization Web site URL if any:

describe the work that your current organization does: The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has worked to safeguard Africa’s great wildlife and wild places for the long-term benefit of the people of Africa and the world since 1920. Today WCS has the oldest, largest and arguably most effective field conservation program of any NGO in Africa. WCS’s mission in Africa is: to save wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. This mission identifies landscapes and species conservation as WCS’s core purpose, highlights the role of science in studying threats and designing interventions and recognises that conservation must benefit people to be effective and sustainable.
WCS has been supporting conservation and conservation-related research in Nigeria since 2001, working closely with the Ministry of Environment, Nigeria National Parks Service, Cross River State Forestry Commission, Bauchi State Government, universities, local NGOs and perhaps most importantly with local communities. In April 2007 WCS signed a five-year cooperation agreement with the National Planning Commission. WCS is based in Calabar and currently has three long-term projects in Cross River State: Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mbe Mountains and Cross River National Park; all of them focused on the protection of the critically endangered Cross River gorilla. In addition to these long-standing projects we now have two new projects: conservation of the ***** Delta red colobus monkey in Bayelsa State (since 2010) and elephant conservation in Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi State (since 2009). In 2010, in recognition of its long-term commitment to the country, WCS established a country program in Nigeria. A key feature of our work in recent years has been the promotion of trans-boundary conservation between Nigeria and Cameroon.

To help conserve Nigeria’s wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions, and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity.

WCS envisions a country where people value and embrace the diversity of wildlife, learn to live sustainably with wildlife, and ensure the integrity of the natural world.
Our mission and vision statement are based on WCS’s core values. WCS strongly believes that:
 Nigeria’s wild species and landscapes are an immensely valuable heritage for the people of Nigeria and the world.
 The lives of current and future Nigerians will be enriched by wise stewardship of these wild species and landscapes.

ddescribe your personal role in the organization: Please describe your personal role in the organization:
Since 2008 I have worked as GIS and Database Management Officer for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Nigeria, with aid of GIS analysis and remote sensing technique to support the conservation of the Critically Endangered Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). Since 2008, I have embarked on series of projects for biodiversity conservation in both Nigeria and Cameroon as a GIS Analyst. In 2008, I mapped the new boundary for Mbe Community Wildlife Sanctuary (MCWS) which was instrumental in resolving the boundary conflict among the nine communities holding claim to the ownership of the sanctuary. Also, I played a major role in the GIS analysis and mapping of following surveys:
“Wildlife and Habitat Assessment Survey of the Afi River Forest Reserve, Cross River State, Nigeria” April 2008,
“Great Ape and Drill Survey of the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, Cross River State, Nigeria”, July, 2009.
d“Gorilla Census of the Mbe Mountains Community Wildlife Sanctuary, Cross River State, Nigeria”, September, 2009.
“Gorilla Census of Boshi Extension and Okwa Hills, Cross River National Park, Nigeria” September, 2009.

I have been playing a crucial role in the cybertracker project implementation in Nigeria both in training Eco-guards/Rangers and actual cybertracker data analysis for annual report. In 2011, I was one of the five-team members for “REDD Feasibility Assessment in the Takamanda-Mone Landscape Cameroon” for the GIS and Remote Sensing analysis. While in 2012, my proposal for “Land Cover Change Detection in Afi/Mbe/Okwangwo Landscape” received “Planet Action” grant which was finalized in 2014. Also in February 2012, I conducted a training workshop for fifty (50) Cross River State Forestry Commission (CRSFC) officers on the use of GPS receiver for forest monitoring. Also a member of Cross River State REDD+ technical committee, I have actively involved in the preliminary data analysis.


ddescribe the history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: 
I have been involved in conservation with use of geographic information systems  techniques and remote sensing methodology for over five years now. My passion for conservation of biodiversity started years back in high school as a member of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) club.
In 2006, as part of a community development project, I conducted a free training workshop  for about fifty officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission (the federal agency in charge of road traffic management in Nigeria) on the application of GIS in road traffic management.
Also, recently ( 2014) I conducted a six weeks training for post-graduate student of University of Calabar, Geography and Environment Science in the practical application of GIS in environmental research. The feedback from the department is quite encouraging as most of the trainees have started using GIS for their research work. I was actively involved in the training of journalist across six geo-political zones in Nigeria in the “news mapping” using GIS. This training has enriched their analytic skill in reporting news especially those that report conservation and environmental issues in Nigeria. The training was predicated on the fact that nothing enhances a story like a map. Readers can quickly glance at a map’s legend, colors, and labels to get pertinent details.

describe what is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do: I find conservation research interesting because as it provides a source of inspiration and brings me in close contact with nature. I enjoy resolving environmental challenges with the use of geospatial technologies. Over the years I developed a special interest in knowing the impact of climate change on protected areas and vulnerable species in Nigeria.
Many laws on biodiversity and forestry  conservation are difficult to enforce because of the high level of poverty in the region. A lot of people in both the rural and urban areas depend on firewood and charcoal for cooking. Thus, the local trade in firewood and charcoal continue to thrive. The problem is aggravated by increasing food and fuel prices which force more people to depend on forest resources for survival. Improving forestry and wildlife management in Nigeria must therefore begin with the development of a proper legal and political framework for conservation management. Other measures include providing basic education on conservation for the general population of Nigeria. There is also the need to address the issue of poverty by providing proper economic incentives to improve the well-being of people around protected areas. This should however, go on hand in hand with the provision of adequate funding and staffing of protected areas in the country