Tracking Carnivores with Your Phone

  • by Dr. Laurie Marker December 2, 2015
Tracking Carnivores with Your Phone

On August 30, In association with the Large Carnivore Management Association of Namibia (LCMAN – an organization that I currently Chair), CCF debuted a new application for mobile devices that enables members of the scientific community, farmers, tourists and local residents to identify and report sightings of carnivore species in Namibia. The distribution data gathered with this app, known as Carnivore Tracker, will help provide data on Namibia’s wild ranging carnivores and will assist the government in national wildlife conservation strategies.

CCF’s Ecology Manager Dr. Louisa Richmond-Coggan worked with software developer and CCF volunteer Steven Lambright to develop the app. The brilliant part about Carnivore Tracker is that it enables just about anyone with a mobile telephone to become a scientific research assistant. This greatly expands the size of our survey areas and also helps in speeding up data collection and analyses.

The type of information collected through Carnivore Tracker includes identification of the species sighted, number of individuals and the GPS location, even if outside network and Wi-Fi coverage areas. Each carnivore species has a photographic icon for easy identification and a brief description of its ecology and status. Now Namibian residents can report what they see on a regular basis, and tourists on holiday just passing through can report animals they encounter during their travels.

We are also excited to see how Carnivore Tracker can be used by farmers to help reduce the number of farm animals lost to predators, particularly during this year’s calving season, which has just begun.

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