It is easy to believe that common native animals like kangaroos, possums, lyrebirds and wombats will always be around. Is it possible, that, despite being relatively common, they are in decline? WildCount aims to answer this question.
WildCount is a 10-year fauna monitoring program that uses motion-sensitive digital cameras in 200 sites across 146 parks and reserves in eastern NSW.
WildCount looks at trends in occurrence of animals at these sites, to understand if animals are in decline, increasing or stable.
The video below has more information about the project.
Based on current data, WildCount can confidently detect changes in occurrence of 12 species over ten years. As we get more data over time, the list below is expected to grow.
||Short-eared brushtail possum
|Common brushtail possum
||Eastern grey kangaroo
WildCount will be able to detect if there is a change in occurrence that meets the criteria for listing species under the IUCN Red List. The power to detect such change means OEH can examine other broad trends such as increase in pest species. Understanding these changes in native and pest species will assist in the management of parks and reserves.
WildCount focuses on monitoring typically common and widespread species. However, there have been other exciting detections.
Digitising WildCount: Help sift through animal selfies for science
Since the WildCount program started in 2012, over 800,000 images have been collected. It takes half a year for a small team of researchers and volunteers to process the images accurately after each field season.
How can citizen scientists help us?
Now we are now looking for people to help us sort through this vast number of 'animal selfies' so we can process the images much faster than we've been able to alone. For this project citizen scientists will use DigiVol, a website developed by the Australian Museum and the Atlas of Living Australia, to record information from each image such as the name of the species. DigiVol has been primarily used for unlocking scientific data from the biodiversity collections of institutions in Australia and around the world.
By helping us capture this information, citizen scientists will be helping scientists understand changes in native and pest species which will assist in the management of our precious biodiversity in National parks and reserves.
To get involved all you need to do is record information about what you see in each image.
This project is now closed. Check back with us again in June 2016 to help process a fresh batch of images.
Have a look at some of the photos captured by the WildCount cameras in 2014.
More photos from previous years:
For more information, consult the NSW Wildlife Atlas
What would you like to do next?
Page last updated: 13 January 2016