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USP Tuvalu & Funafuti Kaupule Receive Drone for Research

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Ms Chernikhova hands over the drone to Mr. Penivao. Also pictured is Dr. Lagi.

The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Tuvalu Campus and the Funafuti Kaupule has officially received ownership of a DJI Mavic drone for research purposes.

The drone was received from Ms. Darya Chernikhova representing Oceans Unmanned on 31 July 2019 following a presentation from Dr. Rosiana Lagi, Tuvalu Campus Director on ‘Kogapuipui Tuvaluan Traditional Conservation Concept – Impacts’ at the Student Conference on Conservation Science at the Centre of Biodiversity and Conservation. The conference was held at the American Museum Natural History in New York in October, 2018. 

Dr Lagi’s paper discussed the significance of Kogapuipui in conserving terrestrial and marine biodiversity, more importantly on food and human security. 

One of the issues highlighted in this paper is poaching, coastal erosion and the expensive cost of monitoring and policing the conservation area. 

The paper recommended the use of drones to assist in the surveillance of the conservation area and the mapping and measuring of the islets to confirm the impacts of sea level rise on the sizes of the islets. 

At the conference, Dr. Lagi made a request on behalf of the Funafuti Kaupule on the funding of a drone and following several correspondences, Ms. Chernikhova volunteered at the USP Tuvalu Campus assisting with research since 4 July, 2018. She taught the USP Tuvalu Campus IT Intern Lifuka Simeti and the Funafuti Kaupule IT Officer Veaua on how to use the drone for mapping and measuring the islets. 

During her month-long volunteer Ms Chernikhova assisted Dr. Lagi in converting her research paper into a video documentary to present the research to a wider audience. 

Mr. Taualo Penivao, the Funafuti Kaupule Secretary in receiving the drone acknowledged Dr. Lagi and the USP Tuvalu Campus staff for their work and Ms Chernikhova and Oceans Unmanned for the gift. 

He stated that the drone is a useful tool that will assist them in planning and making decisions regarding activities that have to be done in light of sea level rise. 

Dr. Lagi stated that reciprocity is a significant aspect of researching indigenous knowledge.  Therefore, it is only proper that the USP Tuvalu Campus reciprocate the knowledge given to them by giving back to the Knowledge Owners’. 

“As such, the drone will be used collaboratively with the Funafuti Kaupule for research in building a more resilient and sustainable Funafuti for our people.” 

“In addition, as a regional institution, the USP Tuvalu Campus should be researching issues that will make an impact for the region,” Dr Lagi stated.

Furthermore, she acknowledged Dr. Giulio Paunga, USP Vice President Regional Campuses for giving her the opportunity to research and publish her papers for the benefit of the people she serves.    

This news item was published on 12 Aug 2019 03:48:44 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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