Take an Online Safari and Help Scientists Collect Data at the Same Time
If you’re a deskbound nature lover, the Gorongosa National Park has the perfect website for you. WildCam Gorongosa gives animal enthusiasts the opportunity to not only take a virtual trip to the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, but to help scientists track animals at the same time.
The park is currently recovering from the aftermath of two wars fought in the region, and scientists are trying to chart its ecological rehabilitation. They’re interested in tracking animal numbers to see how different species are recovering, but the project is too big for a handful of researchers. Their solution: crowdsource the entire process.
Researchers have set camera traps throughout the park, which automatically snap photos when animals are nearby. The pictures are then uploaded to the website, where anyone can view them and tag the animals. It’s not only educational, but fascinating; the website allows you to choose from a list of animals, and provides filters like pattern, color, and horn shape to help narrow down the choices.
You can make an account in order to chart your progress and compete with other animal tracking enthusiasts. The project is pretty immense: There are 224,010 images in total, and only 7 percent have been tagged so far. If you’re interested in being an animal census taker—or just taking a digital tour of the park—head over to WildCam Gorongosa. A sampler of the kinds of images you'll encounter is below.