Challenge

What does it mean for the ecosystem when invasive feral pigs tear through an area? What is the correlation between deer populations and spreading disease? Researchers hope to answer questions like these by studying local wildlife, but their organizations are critically underfunded—and they need help. Citizen scientists have the means to record valuable photos and data to help scientists tackle these complex conservation challenges. Their contributions are crucial to understanding and rehabilitating the world’s land mammal population.

Solutions

eMammal is a data management system and archive for camera trap research projects. Created and managed by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and supported by Microsoft AI for Earth, the eMammal platform makes wildlife photography accessible, opening the door for citizen scientists to contribute their own images to environmental research efforts. Contributors upload images captured from at-home camera traps to eMammal, where the images are tagged and organized by species type. eMammal uses machine learning to categorize its massive library and guide contributors to record more accurate results. Wildlife researchers and organizations can then access these images to gain a better understanding of wildlife populations and answer critical questions about animal behavior, reproduction, ecology, genetics, migration, and conservation sustainability.

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Coyote photographed by a camera trap in Montana USA

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Woodchuck photographed by a camera trap in Virginia USA