Environment SA News

Become a citizen scientist and help save our endangered Australian sea lions

Budding South Australian citizen scientists are encouraged to help the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to help save our endangered Australia sea lions by logging into the Sea lion Spotter portal as part of a data blitz.

Become a citizen scientist and help save our endangered Australian sea lions
An Australian sea lion colony on South Australia's west coast

The Sea lion Spotter portal is an online depository of drone images used to count sea lion populations living on the remote South Australian west coast.

Anyone with internet access can help NPWS staff and research scientists to remotely count populations of adult and pup Australian sea lions.

The Sea lion Spotter app was developed to provide an easy way for anyone with an interest in sea lions and marine life to contribute to the recovery of the endangered species.

Sadly, in December 2020, the Australian sea lion went from vulnerable to endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Researchers have been monitoring the South Australian west coast colony since 1999. While pup numbers peaked in the early 2000s with over 600 pups, numbers have since almost halved.

National Parks and Wildlife Service Marine Park Ranger, Dirk Holman, said there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure sea lions survive so future generations can see them still in the wild.

“The most important question we have to answer each year is how is their population trending?” Ranger Holman said.

“Are we getting good numbers of new sea lion pups making it through to be become healthy young juveniles and ultimately mature, breeding adults, or are certain colonies having problems?

“By using the Sea lion Spotter, the public can help count and identify different age class sea lions from more than 1500 photos taken using our research drone.”

For more information and to sign up a spotter, visit www.sealionspotter.com