Wisconsin Wildlife Watch lets citizen scientists explore never-before-seen camera trap photos of wild animals. Working alongside a University of Wisconsin-Madison science team, citizen scientists take part in valuable ecological research and help ecologists better understand the trends, distribution and ecosystems of deer, elk, bears and hares. Wisconsin Wildlife Watch is an effort to monitor forest wildlife year-round across a network of trail cameras. Help identify the animals captured on camera and better understand the distribution and trends of wildlife populations. There are more than 40 species to search for, and thousands of photos to dive into.
Over the course of a month, a single camera might take thousands of photographs. Classifying these images is a herculean task way beyond the capacity of a handful of scientists. Citizen scientists help to make all these photographs meaningful by classifying the type and number of animals in the image and directly help in the conservation of Wisconsin’s great landscapes and wildlife. Using this information, researchers can create maps for both common and rare species across the state and study how animal populations change through time.
An ultimate goal of Wisconsin Wildlife Watch is to map where animals are most likely to be in relation to different habitats or seasons, and predict future changes in animal distribution. But camera images can inform far more than where species or individuals are located. Because images are time-stamped, scientists can study how animal behaviors differ across seasons, and how populations respond to seasonal changes.