Walrus from Space Census Asks for Public Help in Locating Animals in Satellite Images | Animals

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Environmentalists are looking for “citizen scientists” to spot walruses from their own homes to help track populations of these creatures and give scientists an idea of ​​how many walruses are left in the wild.

Insightful-eyed members of the public are encouraged to browse images of the Arctic taken from space in search of fat mammals and report any sightings to WWF and the British Antarctic Survey, as part of a census. Atlantic walruses and Laptev sea walruses.

It is hoped that half a million people around the world will join the Walrus from Space research project and examine thousands of high-resolution satellite images – too daunting a task for researchers to tackle on their own.

Although this is an important species in the Arctic ecosystem, little is known about the number of walruses that exist along the 25,000 km² remote and largely inaccessible Arctic coast – an area larger than Wales.

The project draws on the knowledge of indigenous communities, tracking the effects of global warming on animals, whose habitats are warming almost three times faster than the rest of the world, with about 13% of summer sea ice disappearing each. decade.

Rod Downie, WWF Chief Polar Advisor, said: “What happens in the Arctic does not stay there; the climate crisis is a global problem, bigger than any person, species or region. Before hosting this year’s global climate summit, the UK must step up to its ambitions and deliver on all of its climate promises – for the good of walruses and the world.

Hannah Cubaynes, Research Associate at the British Antarctic Survey, said: “Assessing walrus populations by traditional methods is very difficult because they live in extremely remote areas, spend a lot of their time on the sea ice and move around a lot. . Satellite images can solve this problem, as they can study large swathes of coastline to assess where walruses are located and help us count which ones we find.

“However, doing this for all of the Atlantic and Laptev walruses will require huge amounts of images, too many for a single scientist or a small team, so we need the help of thousands of citizen scientists for us. help learn more about this iconic animal. “


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