Looking for a way to get closer to nature in your local neighbourhood while collecting information that will help us to manage our urban wildlife? The CAUL Urban Wildlife App is a mobile app (available free for iPhone & Android) that encourages urban-dwellers to become citizen scientists by monitoring native animals in Australian cities and towns. The data collected is contributing to research funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (through the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub and Threatened Species Recovery Hub), answering questions like:
Why are motorbike frogs doing so well in Perth and surrounds when their close cousins from the eastern states (growling grass frog, green and golden bell frog) are struggling in the urban environment?
How can we better provide for beneficial insects (predators, pollinators and parasitoids) in urban and suburban areas?
What is driving the movement of flying-foxes in and out of cities and towns? Where are they spending their time, and what are their favourite foods?
Which of the country’s 27 possum and glider species still occur in urban landscapes around Australia?
The app includes four modules, each focused on a different group of animals: frogs, beneficial insects, flying-foxes, and possums and gliders. The frog and beneficial-insect modules allow app users to conduct timed surveys (which tell us not only what was there, but also what was not), while the mammal-focused modules are designed for observations of feeding, roosting and other behaviour.
App users can upload photos, videos and acoustic recordings. To date, more than 3,500 records have been created using the app. We’d love to have you join in the fun!
Mata, L., Vogel, B. & Bolitho, J. (2020). Pollinator Observatories – Citizen science to engage people with nature in cities. Report prepared for Westgate Biodiversity: Bili Nursery & Landcare.
Soanes, K., Lentini, P. E. & Parris, K. M. (2020). Summary of findings from the CAUL Urban Wildlife App. Report prepared by the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub. The University of Melbourne.
Steven, R. et al. (2019). A new citizen-science tool for understanding the conservation opportunities and challenges facing Australia’s possums and gliders. Research findings factsheet, Threatened Species Recovery Hub.