Luangwa Elephants
Hijaz Spring

Wilpattu mangroves
Buikit Barisan

Protected Areas and Natural Resources Conservation

Through most of his working life, Christopher Legg has been actively involved in natural resources conservation, initially through part-time involvement in conservation organisations, and later as part of his remote sensing and GIS career.

While working as a geologist in Zambia, Christopher travelled to many of the National Parks in Zambia for work and recreation, and became active in the Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia. Initially, Christopher and his wife Lorraine organised the WCSZ Zoo in the annual Lusaka Agricultural Show, and he later became Branch Chairman. For three years he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the WCSZ, during which time he arranged for an aerial count of elephant and rhino in the Luangwa Valley (carried out by Ian Douglas-Hamilton and associates) and helped to establish the Save the Rhino Trust. He flew anti-poaching patrols in the Luangwa Valley and Kafue Park, and joined the Honorary Wildlife Rangers to help combat poaching.

Working in Saudi Arabia, he had the advantage of extensive travel by helicopter in the Hijaz mountains in the west of the Kingdom, and his observations, together with those of his wife, and guided by John Gasperetti, helped extend the known range of some species of baboon, antelope, hedgehog and honey badger, as well as frogs and fresh-water fish.

Christopher started to use remote sensing for conservation studies while at the NRSC in Farnborough, evaluating the success of land restoration after open-cast mining, and also monitored the Arabian Gulf oil slick during the first Gulf War, which threatened important marine reserves. He used remote sensing and GIS full-time in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, mapping vegetation in forest reserves and national parks, and developing IFRIS, a GIS specifically aimed at protected area management in Sumatera. He worked particularly in the Kerinci Seblat and Bukit Barasan national parks, and later trained staff in the Leuser Programme in Northern Sumatera and Aceh in GIS, remote sensing and GPS data collection.

While working for the IITA in Cameroon, he assisted the Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund in mapping their chimpanzee and gorilla rehabilitation sites, and reported on gorilla sitings in IITA project villages, contributing to a new atlas of Great Apes. He also travelled to national parks in the north and West of Cameroon. In Nigeria, he worked with his wife to map and document the protected forest on the IITA campus, and visited national parks in central Nigeria.

Christopher recently undertook a remote sending study of flooding and grassfires in the Bangweulu ecosystem in Zambia. He is currently working with the Kafue Basin Trust attempting to map the extent of Mimosa pigra encroachment on the Kafue Flats.