Victoria University of Wellington researchers are involving the public in scientific research to identify the distribution of invasive mammals like possums and rats which are threatening native species.
Victor Anton, a research assistant from Victoria’s School of Biological Sciences, is using citizen science to uncover the impact of some of New Zealand’s common predators on biodiversity in urban and urban fringe areas.
Earlier this year, Victor installed motion-triggered cameras in 40 locations near Zealandia’s Wildlife Sanctuary, including public reserves and private backyards. The cameras recorded over 65,000 photographs of a variety of animals between March and July this year.
A webpage has been launched which people are invited to visit to help identify animals in the photographs (http://identifyanimals.co.nz). Users are shown three pictures taken within a short period of time and asked to identify the animal or animals. They are also asked to self-assess how confident they are in the accuracy of their answers.
A team of researchers led by Dr Heiko Wittmer and Dr Stephen Hartley, also from Victoria’s School of Biological Sciences, will use the data to estimate distribution and relative abundances of non-native predators in urban environments.
The results will inform effective management strategies for threatenend wildlife in urban areas. The study has been funded by a Victoria University Research Fund grant.
For further information please contact Victor Anton by or email firstname.lastname@example.org
or check out the following media links:
Victoria University press release:
Dominion Post story: