The conservation benefits of FIT
Species are currently becoming extinct at up to 1000 times background rates. Without reliable data on the numbers and distribution of free-ranging species, we can’t hope to redress this situation. Current techniques, for example VHF and satellite collaring, provide very detailed data on just a few individuals, and are often too expensive to apply more widely. In addition they can negatively impact animal welfare and data validity. FIT is a non-invasive and cost-effective approach to monitoring that can be applied everywhere that footprints are found.
ConservationFIT is based on the fact that the conservation of biodiversity is everyone’s focus now. We all depend on a healthy vibrant biodiversity for our daily lives – from the air we breathe to our water, food, medicines, and other natural resources.
Learning how to live sustainably on our planet is a critical part of the education we give the next generation. They will inherit a very different Earth from the one we were born into, with huge new challenges.
The general concepts of conservation are a natural point of engagement for even very young children, who through this medium learn about human impacts on the environment, and the need to share space with the animals they all love. As they become older and learn more about the applications of technology to conservation, we engage them in STEM solutions to the challenges in conservation. They can collect footprint images, learn how to fly drones, engage in robotics solutions. At the University level we partner with students on every continent to drive technology forward. Current challenges include deep learning applications and drone technology. Education doesn’t stop there! ConservationFIT is specifically designed to engage Adults as learners, to collect data from us wherever they go, simply using smartphones or drones.
ConservationFIT engages whole communities in the conservation process, both citizen-scientists and indigenous groups that have expert tracking skills. It works well in combination with other non-invasive approaches (e.g. remote camera trapping) and has huge potential to transform the way we monitor endangered species.The FIT software, and JMP software on which it runs, can be made available, on application, for non-profits and small conservation organisations.
Learning how to use FIT
ConservationFIT partners will run workshops that teach communities how to engage with this project, and how to use FIT for monitoring. At the conclusion of the workshop participants can apply for copies of FIT software. For more information please contact Zoe Jewell at info@ConservationFIT.org