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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Utilizing Citizen Science Technology to Assist in Giraffe Conservation in Botswana

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AUTHORS: Madeline Abbatacola, Kara White - Wisconsin Center for Wildlife, University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point; Christiaan Winterbach, Tau Consultants; Scott Hygnstrom, Wisconsin Center for Wildlife, University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Citizen science is a unique tool in conservation efforts that can assist in the collection of data. We used the data collection and management application, Cyber Tracker, to obtain photographs and GPS coordinates of giraffes in northern Botswana. This is a free program offered to the public but mainly used by researchers. The application is programmed to record information in the field using a tablet or smartphone that is then downloaded to a computer. Our application records a photograph of the individual which is later run through a spot recognition program as well as herd demographics: sex, ages, number of individuals, and habitat. Currently, the program is being used by a group of researchers in two concessions in Botswana to gain a better understanding into individual movement patterns and group demographics. Once a database of giraffe individuals is established the goal is to use this information to estimate populations using noninvasive measures. This is where citizen science will help hasten along this process. If tourists are already taking photographs of giraffes on their safaris, they can add these and their GPS location to the pool of data being collected. Interactive guest programs in national parks could be started by offering tablets to check out and be used in the data collection process and then be connected to the computer to download the data after each use. My hope for the future is that the combination of citizen science and technology can connect the public sphere and the scientific community which would ultimately cultivate an interest in conservation science and show the importance of collaboration. 

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer

Attendees (7)