Computer chair biologists: Volunteers utilize 5,000 game cameras to study Wisconsin’s wildlife


posted Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at 4:59 AM EST


65 species of mammals are native to the state of Wisconsin. Keeping track of all these animals is a mammoth task, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has teamed up with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA to identify and document the wildlife population through the use of trail cameras.

The Snapshot Wisconsin project provides volunteers with the necessary equipment and training. Volunteers then send collected photos to the WDNR four or more times per year. The cameras have GPS capabilities which the Snapshot Wisconsin team can use to pinpoint the location of various animals.

Since the launch of Snapshot Wisconsin on May 17, over 8,000 people have registered to help classify mystery mammals in nearly 300,000 images on Zooniverse. You don't have to be a resident of Wisconsin to pore through the photos and contribute to the effort, but you do have to live in the "Badger State" if you want to get a trail camera from WDNR.

Coyote photographed by a WDNR game camera. Credit: Snapshot Wisconsin

As of writing, "season 1" images have been completed and the team is working on getting new files prepared for season 2. Keep an eye on this blog to learn when a new batch of images has been uploaded. It's cool to see photography used to help monitor and model wildlife in a particular region. Hopefully the project is a success and we see it emulated in other regions, particularly ones with at-risk or endangered species.

(Seen via PetaPixel