Calgary launches 'citizen science' tool to identify wildlife in photos taken by hidden cameras

The City of Calgary just launched a new online tool that allows Calgarians to catch rare glimpses of wildlife captured by hidden cameras set up at 12 parks within the city.

Information will help inform conservation decisions and reduce harmful human-wildlife interactions

The City of Calgary is asking its citizens to help identify wildlife caught on cameras so that the city can gain a better understanding of the ecodiversity in the city. (City of Calgary)

The City of Calgary just launched a new online tool that allows Calgarians to catch rare glimpses of wildlife captured by hidden cameras set up in 12 city parks.

The Calgary Captured tool brings up images one at a time and asks users to help classify animals observed within the frame, which could include badgers, elk, grizzly bears, moose, raccoons, red foxes and white-tailed deer, to name a few.

The project is meant to help the city understand not only what animals are in the area, but more importantly how they're moving.

Chris Manderson, urban conservation lead with the City of Calgary, told the Calgary Eyeopenerin late January that this "citizen science" initiative would be launched on the volunteer research website Zooniverse to enlist the help of Calgarians, to crowdsource the identification process.

One of 70 motion-activated cameras set up by the city to monitor the movements of wildlife caught this small herd of cattle in Calgary. (City of Calgary)

The city hopes this information will inform conservation decisions and reduce harmful human-wildlife interactions.

Even if you're not a wildlife expert, the city encourages you to participate. The online tool tells people not to worry if they're "not 100% sure," as many people will see each photo, and errors will likely be filtered out.

Researchers will examine photos that generate multiple classifications.

The cameras have captured more than 10,000 photos like this, which is why the city is turning to 'citizen science' to enlist the help of Calgarians, to crowdsource the identification process, says Chris Manderson, urban conservation lead with the City of Calgary. (City of Calgary)