Citizen Science


For Wildlife had the privilege of engaging in a Citizen Science day at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. The Animal Demography Unit, a component of the University of Cape Town, and lead by Les Underhill who is himself an incredible and inspirational man, is utilizing citizen science to drive their research projects and subsequent conservation output.

Citizen Science, in short, empowers normal citizens to gather scientific data which is then integrated into various research projects and programmes requiring specific outcomes. These projects are only a reality thanks to the data supplied by the average person, and the output can sometimes be significant and lead to changes at policy level in government, all thanks to the will and effort of the man in the street.

A great example of citizen science contributing hugely is the SABAP2 project, which is generating date on the frequency and ranges of birds in Southern Africa. Other citizen science projects driven by the ADU include scorpions, spiders, mammals, reptiles, butterflies, amphibians and more. The data which is extrapolated by Les and his team translates into real science and research programmes which reach the highest levels of influence at policy level, all the way down.

Citizen Science is growing and with it a huge amount of previously unrecorded data is being made available to science and research laboratories such as the ADU. These contributions are a contribution to conservation and all involved from the bottom up need to be thanked and applauded.

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