These days there are smartphone apps for just about everything, so why shouldn’t there be apps for observing and tracking wildlife? Many people have a keen interest in following the movements of various animals, including hunters, naturalists, and ordinary outdoor enthusiasts. Many of the best new animal-tracking apps allow users to observe and report their findings, and the information is then included in a database which can be referenced by the user as well as many others. Here are three of best apps for wildlife observation and animal tracking.
Available through Google Play, this gem of an app allows the user to track animals all over the world which have been tagged with a transmitting device. The data from these tiny tracking devices is constantly being fed to a free online database called Movebank, which is primarily used for research purposes. Real-time observations and photos made by any user who comes across a tagged animal can be quickly uploaded to the database, along with any notes on behavior of the animals being tracked. This is a great app for those who like the idea of contributing to a scientific effort to manage, share, analyze and learn about animal behavior.
This app excels at identification of wildlife, and makes it very easy to report on any findings. Any information reported by a user is fed directly to the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Wildlife Watch website. The NWF, through their site, encourages users to share stories about their adventures in nature and any observed behavior that might be of interest to others; in essence it promotes enjoyment of nature and all the species of wildlife in a given area. This is one of the few apps that accept observations without an accompanying photo and, pending user approval, can also tag locations.
As described in the iTunes store, this is a superior app for wildlife photography and observation. It allows users to upload observations to iNaturalist.org, which is a network for naturalists and outdoorsmen. The application has a great system for logging observed plant and animal life, and by repeating the logging actions several times, a great deal can be remembered and learned about encounters outdoors. When the user cannot identify exactly what was observed, the iNaturalist community is standing by to provide assistance and answers.
This app also has a scientific aspect to it, since recorded observations are used to help scientists, conservationists, and land managers monitor climate change, effects of pollution, and status of natural habitat. The app itself was built with strong support from people with the Encyclopedia of Life and the California Academy of Sciences.
Monitoring and Tracking Without Cellphones
For those who prefer observation and tracking without the use of smartphones, some simple outdoor-equipment can be used to track wildlife, even without being physically present. Good Game Hunting, a sports enthusiast site, sells high quality digital camera equipment that can be stationed in the wild to observe movements of animals; movements that can be reviewed later. Some cameras are capable of recording at night as well, which is very beneficial since many animals are nocturnal. This kind of equipment is especially geared toward hunters, who wish to observe the movements of animals in a particular area, so as to make use of the information in the future.