Journal article

Citizen science: recruiting residents for studies of tagged urban wildlife

Raoul A Mulder, Patrick-Jean Guay, Michelle Wilson, Graeme Coulson



The human residents of cities represent a largely untapped and potentially vast source of information about urban wildlife. One simple and scientifically valuable contribution involves the reporting of sightings of tagged animals, but even in urban areas, such reports are relatively rare. We draw on two case studies of conspicuously tagged and iconic animals to consider human reactions to wildlife tags, and how these influence the likelihood of unsolicited reports. We evaluate potential strategies for increasing participation from this pool of potential citizen scientists and maximising the reliability of these contributions. In both studies, public reports contributed substantial and largel..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

Team Swan thanks these people and organisations: Parks Victoria for logistical support; Wouter van Dongen, Julie McInnes, Leigh Morison, Shandiya Balasubramaniam, Matt Swan, John Baumgartner, Sally Sherwen, Goncalo Cardoso, Rakhee Patel and numerous volunteers for their help in the field; and the many people who took the time and trouble to report sightings of neck-collared swans to us. Our study was approved by The University of Melbourne's Animal Ethics Committee (Registers 05065 and 0810883), carried out under permits from the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria (Permits no. 10004357 and 10004585) and supported by the Australian Research Council (DP0558607) and by a Victoria University Research Fellowship provided by the Research Division, School of Engineering and Science, and the Institute for Sustainability and Innovation to P.-J. Guay.The Roo Crew thanks many people and organisations: Anglesea Golf Club (particularly Damian Franzmann and Rachel Kane) and Camp Wilkin for access to the kangaroos; Teigan Allen and Jenny Martin for their initial work, and Jemma Cripps, Marco Festa-Bianchet, Sarah Garnick, Wendy King and many volunteers for help with captures; Anglesea residents who showed much interest and reported observations; the conveners (Tracey Pennington and Steve McDougall) and members of the Anglesea and Aireys Inlet Kangaroo Advisory Group (Alcoa, ANGAIR, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Flora and Fauna Action Group, Jirralingah Koala and Animal Sanctuary, Parks Victoria, Surf Coast Shire and Victoria Police) for their support and enthusiasm; Leopold Wildlife Shelter and Rescue for help with injured kangaroos; Jeff Morales and Mark Lamble for superb footage; Katrina Sofo for collating citizen sightings; Camp Wilkin, Burnside Camp, Eumarella Scout Camp, Heather and David Oke, and Gaye Burke for accommodation. Our study was approved by the University of Melbourne's Animal Ethics Committee (Registers 06146 and 0703882.1), carried out under permits from the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria (Permits no. 10004256 and 10004041) and supported by the Kangaroo and Koala Contraception Program (Australian Research Council Linkage Project LP0560344), Department of Sustainability and Environment, and the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment.