Froglife Dragon Finder App
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Froglife is a national nature conservation organisation with a specific remit to conserve the UKs native reptile and amphibian species and their habitats. We deliver our work through three inter-connected programmes: Transforming Landscapes, Transforming Lives and Transforming Research. Central to our ethos is to encourage as many people as possible to help to conserve our natural environment. We have for over 30 years managed the Toads on Roads and Amphibian Mortality projects. These are Citizen Science projects and have provided us with substantive data regarding toad population trends and on amphibian and reptile disease and mortality. In 2017 in collaboration with the University of Zurich we analysed the Toads on Roads data and found that over a 30 year period the UKs common toads have declined by 68%. This has led to us developing and securing funding for several projects focusing on creating and restoring toad habitats and raising awareness amongst the general public of toad conservation. The disease and mortality reports that we receive are passed on to the Zoological Society of London to inform their research in wildlife diseases.
We have recently upgraded our Dragon Finder App and thought it a good opportunity to remind all nature conservationists working out in the field to please submit your reptile and amphibian sightings to the App. Your data will not only help Froglife to identify sites for habitat creation and improvements to benefit the species that we represent, but all of the App data once verified is submitted to the National Biodiversity Network (NBN), and this ensures that it helps with wider conservation efforts.
We know that many readers will have a good understanding of reptiles and amphibians and will be able to identify eggs and adults. However, if you are unsure about an identification then the App can help you. It helps with identifying adult reptiles and amphibians as well as their eggs, larvae and calls. You can also compare photographs of different species to confirm an identification.
Reporting sightings is quick and easy and can be submitted through using the recording form. You can use your mobile phone’s GPS function to determine your location or you can pick from a map. For each species submitted you are given a tick so you can keep track of the animals you have spotted. Records from professionals working outdoors, on the ground, are particularly important to us. Professionals will be seeing, surveying and recording whole populations and this provides us with quantifiable and qualifiable evidence of species presence or absence. It can also help with establishing population sizes.
Citizen Science is an extremely valuable way of collecting data and it helps us enormously in many ways such as we are often contacted by bodies and individuals who are opposing planning applications for new developments and we use the data from the App in order to provide evidence of species presence and where possible population size. This often helps in preventing the destruction of vital habitats for our species. However, we do need to have substantive data in order to pursued planning authorities to take into consideration the species living on the site.
Through our research we know that the UKs common reptile and amphibian species are at high risk of extinction, we are therefore equally as keen to receive sightings and reports of common species as well as the protected species. Please do submit all of your sightings to the App.
You can download the App at https://www.froglife.org/dragon-finder-app/
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