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Tourist photographs as a scalable framework for wildlife monitoring in protected areas.

Rafiq, K, Bryce, CM, Rich, LN, Coco, C, Miller, DAW, Meloro, C, Wich, SA, McNutt, JW and Hayward, MW (2019) Tourist photographs as a scalable framework for wildlife monitoring in protected areas. Current Biology, 29 (14). R681-R682. ISSN 1879-0445

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Protected areas are critical to conservation efforts in the face of rapid biodiversity declines [1]. Yet the resources for conservation are often limited and shared amongst many competing priorities [2]. As a consequence, even basic monitoring surveys are absent within most protected areas [3]. Although a range of wildlife monitoring methods exist, considerable focused survey effort is often required to yield accurate and precise estimates [4]. This makes monitoring difficult to sustain or replicate, limiting access to the data required for evidence-based conservation decisions. Citizen-scientists have been proposed as an important complement to the finite resources available for basic monitoring within protected areas [5]; however, the full potential of this approach has yet to be realised. Wildlife tourists and guides are especially focussed on encountering and photographing fauna and flora, yet the data collected in these efforts is rarely harnessed for conservation monitoring within protected areas. A detailed understanding of photographic tourism's potential role in wildlife monitoring has been lacking, but is essential for the development of new tools to harness the data being collected through tourism. Here, we demonstrate that tourist-contributed data can aid wildlife monitoring in protected areas by providing population estimates of large carnivores comparable to those from traditional survey methods. Our approach could capitalize upon the immense number of wildlife photographs being taken daily as part of the global > 30-billion USD, wildlife-based tourism industry.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences, 11 Medical and Health Sciences, 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QL Zoology
T Technology > TR Photography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General) > G149 Travel. Voyages and travels (General) > G154.9 Travel and state. Tourism
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2019 10:42
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 09:04
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.05.056
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11141
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