Mobile app technology may help protect and save endangered species. U.S. wildlife officials encourage outdoor lovers with smartphones to use an app to report endangered species that they encounter in the wilderness.
On Monday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that it is collaborating with FishBrain, a Sweden-based social network and mobile app for anglers. The app, which can be used freely, tracks wind direction, weather, quality of water and other data that could be helpful to people who fish and those who want to observe wildlife.
The app was also developed with the aim of enabling sport-fishing enthusiasts to share information on their catches but it now has a feature that could be helpful in the protection of threatened wildlife. The app can now identify species of fishes and other creatures living near water that are considered threatened or endangered.
Using the app, anglers can log if they see at-risk species, providing information that could be helpful for researchers in the process. They can log sightings of up to 50 of these species as they fish in an effort that could help researchers and conservationists learn where the animals live, the type of habitat that they need and even the reason why their population is declining.
The FWS has made available a list of endangered and threatened species and those that are potential candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act that thrive in or around bodies of water.
Included in this list of at risk species are the California red-legged frog, shortnose sturgeon, Columbia white-tailed deer, whooping cranes and the Kemp's ridley sea turtle. The list of these species, along with their information and images are also available at the Fishbrain.com website.
"The natural world is such an important aspect of everyone's lives, but it is anglers who are able to experience and appreciate it on a day to day basis. Our users marvel at the beauty of animals and fish as a matter of course; the fact they can now channel this interest into something as constructive and helpful as data collection is a very special opportunity indeed," FishBrain CEO Johan Attby said. "We are proud to be reaching our dedicated angling audience to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service carry on the amazing work they do."
The app is available for download and use for both iOS and Android smartphone users.