We are very concerned here at Village Buzz about the safety of the wildlife living amongst us so we jumped at the chance of meeting Ken Anderson who has just launched the Wildlife Tracker website.
During a very interesting meeting at Luv A Coffee I discovered that Ken is a semi-retired web developer who walks regularly in the bushlands in our area and is passionate about the wildlife living there.
He told me he was inspired to develop Wildlife Tracker after spotting many animals in the area and, particularly, ones which had been killed on the streets by cars.
He had become aware of a large number of dead wallabies particularly in Raven Street which, he says, is now being used by some motorists as a rat run to avoid heavy traffic Rode Road. He decided that something needed to be done to make it safer for the wildlife that he could see there would be a problem justifying the expense of traffic calming or fences to the authorities.
The fact is that nobody really knows how many wild animals live in the area or how many of those killed on the roads. All these thoughts lead to Ken's ‘Aha!’ moment when he realised that the way to change things was to collect data on animal sightings including kills to support submissions to the authorities.
They might not take a request to install traffic calming or fences seriously if the number of injured and dead animals is unknown but if that request was backed up with detailed figures on the numbers of animals sighted and the numbers killed, the outcome would be very different.
One person alone could not collect all the necessary data but many people go into the bushlands every day and most of these carry smartphones with Internet access. Ken decided that he could make the most difference by creating a website which all the walkers and local residents could access to report animal sightings and that, in time, a very accurate picture of the wildlife in the area could be built up.
McDowall animal rescuer Mike Fowler was also at the meeting and was excited as I was by the idea of Wildlife Tracker because he also knows the importance of having accurate data when motivating for change in an area that is also dear to his heart.
People are asked to access the Wildlife Tracker website to report to live animal sightings, any dead ones and signs that they are in the neighbourhood such as their scats (poop) or even scratches on trees left by koalas. The website even allows users to report bird calls they hear and it includes links to articles on identifying birds and the scats left by various animals.
We invite the Village Buzz community to use the Wildlife Tracker website to record sightings of animals you see and make a big contribution to their welfare. At the moment the site will only accept sightings in McDowall and adjacent suburbs but we think the idea is so good that it is bound to spread further afield.
Oh, and if you’re one of the motorists using Raven Street as a shortcut, can we ask you to be extra careful because we certainly don't want to see the day when all the wildlife is gone from our community.
Using Wildlife Tracker
Using the website to report a wildlife sighting is simplicity itself especially for those whose phones have a GPS capability.
If your phone has GPS select the Get Location from the menu and click GPS Scan. Wait until your position is located.
Select Report Sighting once you have located your position (or if you have no GPS).
Fill in your details and those of the sighting.
Indicate whether you took pictures and so Wildlife Tracker can contact you.
Select your position on the map if it is not filled in already.
Click Send Report.
The website is NOT meant to be used to report injured or ill animals needing assistance. First, call 1300ANIMAL and give the details including your position to the operator. If you're uncertain exactly where you are, you could use Wildlife Tracker or a GPS app to determine that. Only then use Wildlife Tracker to record the fact that you spotted an injured animal and note in the comments section who you notified and what happened.