THE HUNTER AS CITIZEN SCIENTIST
Citizen Science refers to a project or program of scientific work, embedded in a structure designed and overseen by scientists, in which a network of volunteers, who may have no specific scientific training, perform or manage tasks such as recording observations or measurement. Such programs can yield a wealth of information that would not be possible otherwise, given the limitations of research funding and personnel. The value of citizen science is particularly obvious, and indeed essential, for the conservation and sustainable use of wildlife.
Hunter-collected data based on standardized procedures can generate a broad database of morphometric measurements and physical descriptions; assist in refining distribution range maps, contribute towards resolving taxonomic disputes, and describe local rural development aspirations and their conservation implications.
With modern optics and range finders, accurate satellite and topographical maps, on-line mapping systems, GPS devices, tablet computers, small digital cameras and other mobile gadgets, as well as safe and user-friendly methods of collecting, transporting and storing DNA material, modern hunters have extraordinary tools to collect, store and distribute information at almost no cost and with acceptable individual effort.
We will add relevant how-to-do tools and checklists to this section of the Conservation Frontlines webpage.