Keeping watch on wildlife

COUNT US: Locals and visitors are being asked to count koala, sea lion, and platypus numbers, and look for fossils and dune movement. Photo: Mike Lee/Flinders University.
COUNT US: Locals and visitors are being asked to count koala, sea lion, and platypus numbers, and look for fossils and dune movement. Photo: Mike Lee/Flinders University.

People on Kangaroo Island are being asked to become citizen scientists and be part of a comprehensive census of wildlife and bushland recovery.

Led by Flinders University experts and funded by the federal government, the Passport to Recovery project calls on locals and visitors to count koala, sea lion, and platypus numbers, look for fossils and dune movement, and identify the spread of pollinator insects and the plant pathogen phytophthora, along with other interesting activities.

It is part of a focus on recovery from the 2019-20 bushfires, and identifying how the environment has recovered and changed.

The projects will be led by Professor of Biodiversity and Conservation Karen Burke da Silva and College of Science and Engineering researchers Associate Professor Kirstin Ross, Professor Corey Bradshaw, Dr Ryan Baring and Dr Julian Beaman, and Dr Gareth Butler, Senior Lecturer in Tourism in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Once the app and website are 'up', we will be promoting the projects across the Flinders University community so everyone will have a chance to help in this exciting new project.

Associate Professor Kirstin Ross

Associate Professor Ross said anyone can get involved with the citizen science project, which is worth $482,745.

"Once the app and website are 'up', we will be promoting the projects across the Flinders University community so everyone will have a chance to help in this exciting new project," Associate Professor Ross said.

"Students and staff from Flinders will all be able to get involved later in the year."

It is hoped the various projects involved will build public understanding of climate change and the threats local environments face.

Scientists, industries, and government agencies will work with citizens to "monitor and evaluate restoration and recovery while supporting tourism, enhancing the local economy and promoting policy change".

It will also incorporate relevant Indigenous cultural knowledge.

Among the ways to entice people to join the project will be an app and a website, an invitation to join when flying or catching the SeaLink ferry to Kangaroo Island, and a new Indigenous Yarning Trail map.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said this project, and eight others funded around Australia, would make science "relevant and accessible to people of all ages across the nation."