Animal Conservation

iNaturalist: How social and mobile media are fueling citizen science

curassowTechnology serves too many purposes to count. Mankind can pat itself on the back for transforming exploration, health care, communications, and more. Isn’t it ironic, then, that technology is now also being used to curb some of the damage mankind itself has inflicted on our animals.

National Geographic reports that species extinction could be happening “1,000 times faster because of humans.” Factors like habitat destruction are leading to the loss of species at a phenomenal rate. We’re in a state of emergency as scientists work to identify species, protect them, and conserve their habitats. Digital technology, like online community and mobile app iNaturalist, help everyday citizens contribute to the cause. It’s a “social network for naturalists” that allows users to report and record animal sightings and crowdsource input from others. It has led to the discovery of, among other things, an expanded range for the lemon-yellow tree frog.

“We’re mobilizing millions of people around the world, and we’re on the cusp of learning very much more about where species are than we have ever known in the past,” the article says. What would Darwin and Cuvier think about that? Read the story in full here, and take a look at iNaturalist online.

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