Citizen science website needs your help identifying animals

Researchers from the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington are welcoming volunteers to help them identifying animals in photographs collected around Wellington. The results will increase our understanding of the distribution of invasive mammals like possums and rats which are threatening native species.

Last year, the team launched a trial version of the website with 60,000 photos and citizen scientists identified the animals in these photos in less than a month. Volunteers not only spotted rats and possums, they also enjoyed snapshots of Wellington’s native biodiversity like fantails, kākā, kākāriki and tīeke.

This year, the group of researchers have collected over 100,000 new photographs to continue researching Wellington’s wildlife in a fun and scientific manner. You can help increase our understanding of mammals in urban areas by classifying photos on their website (https://identifyanimals.co.nz/).

The results will eventually feed into the development of even more effective management strategies for threatened wildlife in Wellington.

www.identifyanimals.co.nz is easy to use. You can register using Facebook, Twitter or creating an account. Then have a look at the quick tutorial video which teaches you how to record your identifications then you are ready to start identifying. If you are unsure what you are seeing in any of the photos you can go to the identification guide which will give you a description of the different animals and a few example photos with the animals identified in them.

So if you have some free time, sign up, have a go and help conservation.

For more information see  www.identifyanimals.co.nz.

Banner image: Victor Anton with camera
Top side image: Screenshot of recording page on www.identifyanimals.co.nz
Middle and bottom side images: Examples of animals photographed during the study