STEP CHANGE: Wildlife conservation in Slovenia
Citizen Scientists will be recruited from: i) members of the Hunting Association of Slovenia and from ii) organizations of outdoor enthusiasts, farmers, mountaineers, students organizations.... Participants will be asked to use a dedicated app for mobile phones, which will be developed by autumn 2021, to record wildlife presence and roadkills. Hunters, who received dedicated training, will also record biometric and sexually dimorphic traits for the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and also record parasites found on animals (e.g. ticks).
In parallel, researchers, wildlife professionals and trained hunters will also carry out field-based sampling through camera trapping and hair-trapping, in the same areas where citizen science data are collected.
Finally, data from the citizen science initiative and the ecological sampling will be compared, to appreciate similarities and differences in the distribution of the various wildlife species across Slovenia. Results wil lbe fundamental to produce informed management document about wildlife.
The Citizen Science Initiative, within the STEP CHANGE project, aims to test for the potential of citizen science to contribute to wildlife monitoring and conservation in Slovenia. The main objective of this CSI is to improve the capacity to produce evidence of wildlife presence, movements and behaviours in Slovenia by developing an experimental campaign to extend the possibility to collect data beyond hunters including also beginners (outdoor enthusiasts, camera trappers and photographers), and by setting up a verification data procedure. In doing that the CSI will support the adoption of evidence-based policymaking and contribute to increasing the public awareness on biodiversity and conservation issues.
How to participate
Citizen Scientists could join the initiative by contacting organizers at the contacts indicated on the website: https://stepchangeproject.eu/
In late winter 2021 an app will be available for data collection, and it can be downloaded from the project website.
A smartphone for installing the app and recording wildlife. A manual for wildlife identification and a binocular can also be fine, to assist wildlife identification.