South Su­dan asks wildlife lovers to ID an­i­mals

Action Asia - - NEWS & VIEWS -

WANT TO HELP THE world’s new­est countr y sur­vey its long-ne­glected wildlife? It’s as easy as log­ging in. En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists from Fauna and Flora In­ter­na­tional (FFI) and Buck­nell Univer­sity in Penn­syl­va­nia have teamed up with the South Su­dan gov­ern­ment and con­ser­va­tion au­thor­i­ties to put 425,000 cam­era trap im­ages on­line. They’re now call­ing for na­ture lovers to iden­tify the pho­tographed an­i­mals on Zooni­verse, an on­line plat­form for ci­ti­zen-pow­ered re­search. Home to the world’s sec­ond-largest land mam­mal mi­gra­tion, South Su­dan’s plateaus, sa­van­nas, swamp­lands, and rain­forests are known to have plenty of wildlife in­clud­ing species of an­telopes, black-crowned cranes and for­est ele­phants. But hav­ing only be­come an in­de­pen­dent na­tion in 2011 and go­ing into its fifth year of civil war, South Su­dan lacks laws against poach­ing and wildlife traf­fick­ing, as well as hav­ing loose reg­u­la­tions on il­le­gal min­ing, tim­ber har­vest­ing and char­coal pro­duc­tion. To in­crease aware­ness of this bio­di­verse back­wa­ter, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists set up 23 mo­tion­sens­ing cam­eras in Jan­uary 2015 – a num­ber which later grew to 76. They had soon doc­u­mented eight species of large mam­mals pre­vi­ously un­recorded in the re­gion, in­clud­ing East­ern chim­panzees, si­tatunga, tree pan­golins, for­est ele­phants and African golden cats. Wildlife en­thu­si­asts can log onto Zooni­verse’s web­site to help la­bel uniden­ti­fied im­ages af­ter nar­row­ing them down us­ing colours, pat­terns and horn shapes. Once 12 peo­ple agree on the la­bel, the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion will be con­firmed. At time of pub­li­ca­tion, close to 1,300 vol­un­teers had reg­is­tered and more than 138,000 clas­si­fi­ca­tions had been made. Join the project at www.zooni­verse. org/projects/south­su­dan­wildlife/ south-su­dan-di­ver­si­ty­cam

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