EFSA is calling on outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers to help us track the movements of wild mammals. When you see a species we are looking for, simply take a photo and upload it to our platform with an easy-to-use free app called iMammalia.
Wild animals are important in food safety because they can contribute to the spread of diseases and viruses to farm animals. For example, the current spread of African swine fever in south-eastern Europe is closely linked to movements of wild boar in the region.
An international team sponsored by EFSA has designed a crowdsourcing platform called MammalNet that can collect data from “citizen scientists” who spot these species during their work or leisure activities.
Amateur photographers and professionals using camera traps are also welcome to contribute. When you upload your photo, the app helps you select the correct species and automatically saves the coordinates where it was taken.
Who can take part?
Anyone can take part in the four European countries where we are running the first phase of the project: Croatia, Germany, Poland and Spain. In the second phase, from May 2020, the project will be expanded to the rest of Europe.
We are particularly looking for support from the following individuals in the field and organisations involved in managing and safeguarding the environment:
- conservationists, wildlife researchers/watchers, hunters, farmers, park wardens, trekkers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, mountaineers, skiers and others; and
- administrations and visitor centres in protected natural areas/reservations, tourist offices, councils in rural communities, schools, universities and companies working in the environment.
These people and organisations can either contribute by reporting sightings of animals needed for the project, or promote the initiative and the app among visitors, customers, staff and local communities.
There is a ”photo of the month” competition and other games – check out the MammalNet portal to find out more.
The more people who get involved, the more likely that the data will be of the quality needed to support scientific assessments. This scientific work can have a major impact not only on animal health and related food safety issues, but also on the economic wellbeing of rural communities and farmers. So your contribution will make a difference.