You can support South Australia’s bushfire recovery effort from home, on your mobile or laptop, by helping to identify wildlife captured on-camera in unburnt patches of Kangaroo Island’s parks.
National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia has adopted the recently launched 'Wildlife Spotter’ tool to engage the interested community, particularly citizen scientists, to help identify wildlife in the thousands of photos, taken by more than 70 cameras deployed in parks on Kangaroo Island.
Conservation and Wildlife Manager Jason Higham said, this is a way for the public to have a real impact on bushfire recovery efforts and contribute to traditional science efforts, while maintaining COVID-19 guidelines.
“Motion-sensing cameras have been deployed across Kangaroo Island’s parks and they take a lot of photos. We need help examining these wildlife photos on an ongoing basis, to help us with our bushfire recovery efforts,” Mr Higham said.
“Our park rangers and ecologists can then focus their efforts on feral animal controls, and searching unburnt patches for wildlife, such as the Kangaroo Island dunnart."
Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Taskforce Chair Dr Felicity-ann Lewis said, the identity of wildlife is determined by a citizen scientist ‘jury’, which helps to determine the difference between tricky species like a common rat, a dunnart and a bandicoot, which can be difficult to correctly ID.
“To support our citizen scientists online, they are provided identification tips and photos, and our experts are available to quality check IDs too," Dr Lewis said.
“By getting members of the public involved with the identification efforts, we are engaging and educating people about the diversity of wildlife on Kangaroo Island.”
Monthly batches of images, also known as ‘expeditions’ will be uploaded for citizen scientists to ID.
Anyone can help with the identification of Kangaroo Island wildlife photos by creating a free account on the Atlas of Living Australia website.
This initiative is possible thanks to a collaboration between CSIRO, the Atlas of Living Australia and the Australian Citizen Science Association who recently launched 'The Citizen Science Bushfire Project Finder'.
The photos form part of the National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia’s ‘KI Dunnart Survey Project’, which is helping the bushfire recovery effort, by recording how many native and feral species pass monitoring sites.
This data will help to understand surviving populations, assist with feral animal control and inform recovery actions for species of concern like the Kangaroo Island dunnart, little pygmy possum and southern brown bandicoot.