Coronavirus outbreak: App tracks wildlife during lockdown

Updated: 30 April, 2020 13:38 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

WII's 'Lockdown Wildlife Tracker' will help understand human-wildlife interface in the country and data will be used to make conservation strategies post-lockdown

During the lockdown, there have been more and more reports of wildlife exploring human-dominated areas or 'rewilding' urban areas. Picture/Randeep Hooda
During the lockdown, there have been more and more reports of wildlife exploring human-dominated areas or 'rewilding' urban areas. Picture/Randeep Hooda

With several instances of wildlife venturing into cities being recorded during the lockdown, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) feels that these incidents will help them provide important information in understanding the human-wildlife interface in the country.

Hence, in order to collect the data of such encounters easy and from all across the country, WII has developed a mobile application for android phone users named 'Lockdown Wildlife Tracker.'

The data generated from the app will be shared with the respective state forest department post lockdown so that better conservation strategies can be planned once the lockdown is lifted.

The tracking app
The tracking app

Talking to mid-day Dhananjai Mohan, WII Director said, "In this time of the COVID-19 quarantine, where we humans are locked inside our homes, there are more and more reports of wildlife exploring human-dominated areas or 'rewilding' urban areas. However, these records are stray and just circulated as WhatsApp stories. So a group of WII scientists thought to collect this data in an organised manner to help visualise interesting patterns of wildlife that is unfolding during this period. You can help us in this citizen-science initiative by reporting your sightings from the confines of your homes and be a part of this unique experiment."

"These sightings can be reported real-time as well as at any later period - but only till the quarantine lasts. What's more, is that you can even upload photos of your sightings. This free app makes it convenient to keep track of what you see while making your data openly available for scientific research, education, and conservation," WII senior scientist, Dr Bilal Habib said. The mobile application allows one to record their wildlife sightings anytime and from anywhere along with photographs.

The quick entry tools make recording experience short and simple. The data will have GPS enabled entries of all sightings. Currently, the application is available in English and the Hindi version might come soon.

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First Published: 30 April, 2020 07:00 IST

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