WildTrack is a 501(c)3 based at the SAS Institute (JMP Division) USA. Our mission is to develop and implement non-invasive, community-friendly approaches to monitor endangered species, to understand how best to protect them and reduce human:wildlife conflict.
Recognising the expert tracking skills of many local people living in close contact with wildlife, we developed an award-winning footprint identification technique (FIT) to help local communities utilise their skills within a scientific context. FIT is a translation of traditional tracking skills into a modern scientific technique which is equally accessible to local trackers and scientists.
The conservation of endangered species and the assessment of their associated ecosystems can only be achieved if reliable data on numbers and distribution is available. These data are key to the implementation of strategies for protection and management. FIT can provide these data. Using only digital images of footprints, FIT can identify at the species, individual, age-class and sex levels. Thus using a footprint census, the numbers and distribution of these species can be determined.
1. To develop and apply non-invasive and objective censusing and monitoring techniques as a fundamental resource for wildlife conservation. The Footprint Identification Technique (FIT), and others based on non-invasive approaches, can provide accurate and objective data to monitor endangered species.
2. To engage expert local ecological knowledge in communities who have lived with endangered and elusive species over generations.
3. To use the power of scientific networking to augment data collection from endangered species around the world. Footprint are ubiquitous and can be easily and opportunistically collected by anyone with a smartphone or camera.