• 29 May 2019

New research project seeks citizen scientists to explore Wild Gabon online

A photo of an adult gorilla and her young captured by one of Wild Gabon's cameras

A photo of an adult gorilla and her young captured by one of Wild Gabon's cameras

There are more exciting and beautiful animal photos yet to be discovered. You could be the lucky explorer!

With the increase in biodiversity extinction rates, there is a need to constantly update our knowledge of the natural world, especially in vulnerable landscapes. To this end, Charles Emogor, an MSc student at the Environmental Change Institute has begun research to assess the population dynamics of large mammal communities in the forest-savannah mosaic of Gabon's Lopé National Park and to understand the interactions these animals have with the landscape.

For this, Charles has used a parenting project (Elephant Expedition) to create a citizen science project, Wild Gabon, aimed at classifying thousands of images with the help of volunteers. The Wild Gabon site leads the citizen scientist step-by-step through the digital exploration process, enabling volunteers to identify the animals in the photo and indicate their number.

"I was stunned when my first classification was a silverback followed by a leopard".

Wild Gabon Citizen Scientist

Launched two weeks ago, Wild Gabon has over 800 volunteers who are actively sharing photos and thoughts of their wild mammal expedition. Volunteers are particularly excited about elephants, leopards, gorillas, and red river hogs and have been sharing their best photos and experiences on Twitter and Instagram. One volunteer recently wrote ‘I was stunned when my first classification was a silverback followed by a leopard’.

For Charles, this project will not only contribute to conserving Gabon’s wildlife but will also raise awareness of the status and threats to these species as well as foster a concerted effort to save them.

However, more still needs to be done. Over 30,000 classifications have now been completed, but Wild Gabon need more hands on board to speed up the process. More volunteers are welcome to join in exploring wild mammal life in Gabon’s forest-savannah landscape.

Charles Emogor’s research is supervised by Dr Imma Oliveras and is a spill-off from Anabelle Cardoso’s DPhil research three years ago.

A photo from one of Wild Gabon's cameras

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