The O’Reilly Animals
From Perl to Hadoop, the O’Reilly Animal books have been there to help you advance your knowledge—and you’ve thrived under their tutelage. In real life, the animals themselves have not done nearly as well. Many are now critically endangered, and if the current trend continues, conservationists estimate that one-eighth of all bird species, one-fifth of mammal species, and one-third of amphibian species are at risk of extinction within the next 40 years.
But it doesn’t have to end this way.
One person with a bright idea and a little technology can make a big difference. Just think what someone with your mad skills could do.
Click on an animal to learn more
According to an article from the Guardian cited on the Havocscope website, wildlife trafficking is a $19 billion business, with up to 350 million specimens bought and sold on the black market every year. Havocsope has collected and analyzed data on the prices of animals that are being trafficked on the black market. Read more…
As recently reported by Spaceforgiants.org, information transmitted by GPS collars fitted onto five bull elephants inhabiting the Laikipia County area of central Kenya captured their roaming habits, reflecting memory, education, spatial understanding—and mischief.
Something smart is happening in the realm of conservation. People are coming together under a common set of management principles, data collection efforts, and organizing techniques to reduce the impact of illegal and deadly activities throughout the world.
The SMART Partnership is a newly-founded group of global conservation agencies that share a mission to conserve biodiversity, reduce the impacts of illegal extraction and trade of natural resources, strengthen law enforcement related to biodiversity conservation, and strengthen overall management of conservation areas.
The name is an acronym for “Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool” (SMART), and its members currently include World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, Zoological Society of London, Frankfurt Zoological Society, North Carolina Zoological Park, and the CITES – Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) program. Read more…
Prison inmates help endangered frogs and butterflies—and themselves.
In Washington State, the Evergreen State College and the Washington Department of Corrections have implemented the Sustainability in Prisons Project (SPP), a program that offers prison inmates the opportunity to participate in conservation, scientific research, and sustainability projects. According to the SPP website, the inmates are introduced to educational and employment opportunities that they may pursue after release, reducing recidivism.
In early 2009, SPP partnered with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on a project to restore endangered Oregon spotted frogs, which are declining due to loss of habitat and predation by exotic bullfrogs. The project involves raising the frogs in captivity until they are mature enough to be released into the wild. Read more…
It looks, to quote a source no less sober than National Geographic, like a walking artichoke. It is a mammal with no teeth. A mammal entirely covered in scales. A mammal covered in scales made from keratin, the same substance that produces human fingernails, human hair. Like a human, it is a carnivore. Like an anteater, it is a carnivore. Like an anteater, it consumes thousands of ants and plump yummy termites at a time. And like a rhino or even a tiger, it is nearly extinct.
A new open source mapping platform provides a clearer view of where these crimes happen — and, possibly, why.WorldMap is a free, cloud-hosted open source platform that enables anyone to create, publish, and share maps and other geospatial data. Developed by Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA), the WorldMap platform offers users several useful features: it allows the use of large, detailed datasets, in several formats; users can overlay data on their own computers with materials from the Web; and they can also incorporate paper maps and links to other media. It’s a collaborative system, scalable and easy to manage for groups of all sizes. The WorldMap platform is based on a heavily customized version of GeoNode, and uses PostGIS for the backend database.
A project is underway to integrate WorldMap with the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) of the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNI-IAS). When the integration is complete, anyone – researchers, policymakers, and the general public — will be able to map and track wildlife crime, and will be able to connect that data to a host of socioeconomic data, including ethnicity, income, and environmental conditions. Read more…
Writing this week in the New York Times, author Emily Anthes spun the truly sad story of 832F, a six-year-old female who left Yellowstone’s protected lands and was immediately shot to death.
832F was, as you might already know, a gray wolf as well as a cause célèbre. Because 832F was bold and fearless, often spotted in the park and oft-discussed by the rangers there, Anthes reports an “outpouring of grief” over the animal’s slaughter. The wolf was also tagged, which allowed scientists to follow her every move to learn more about the species at large and that one animal individually. Read more…