Conservation from the Ground Up !
1. Spread the word on what you’re doing for conservation!
WildTrack’s ConservationFIT project offers you the opportunity to share stories through footprints – from the collection of digital images, through to analytics media, and on to field implementation for monitoring animals – the conservation message is clear.
2. Networking for your community.
The direct linking of ex-situ projects with field projects will provide opportunities for exchange visits and educational projects to share with visitors and staff. Animals under human care who contribute footprints will be directly helping conserve their free-ranging counterparts.
3. Engaging and empowering local communities in conservation.
FIT is particularly accessible to local communities. Farmers (game/livestock owners), indigenous group and hunters can be engaged and included in conservation efforts for the benefit of the species, and thus reduce local human-carnivore conflict.
The benefits of working with WildTrack to collect footprints
Here’s an example. A jaguar sanctuary wants to help contribute to the conservation of free-ranging jaguar. They contact us to say that they are interested in helping collect footprints. We show them how to collect good footprint images from their jaguars, and how to send them to us. At the same time they take some pictures of the animals who have made the prints, and perhaps of themselves collecting prints.
Images posted to the WildTrack Facebook page attract the interest of Jaguar field projects who would like to use the final algorithm. A jaguar field project contacts the sanctuary and they share images and educational material for their visitors. An article they write together features how jaguar A and his footprint have helped researchers in Brazil identify jaguar B in their area. The article attracts sponsorship from an enlightened company that understands the corporate benefits of environmental custodianship. They use the site as outreach to their customers.
An interactive world map to be developed in WildTrack’s ConservationFIT project will plot where the footprints have been collected. When visitors hover over the position the information about the footprint collector comes up, with their contact details. Species classified as vulnerable or higher by IUCN will have coded locations. As the site evolves, ex-situ institutes will be able to earn higher participation status for collecting more footprints and visitors to the project website can click on their logo to see what they’re doing. A link will also pop-up to the field project and visitors can learn about local challenges and how the conservation is working in the field.