Indigenous Peoples Collaborate with Researchers on Arctic Wildlife Monitoring Technology
As reported by Cabin Radio on April 29, an upcoming webinar hosted by the Aurora College Research Institute will showcase the technology used in community-based wildlife monitoring programs across the Northwest Territory (NWT). The webinar is part of a multi-organization partnership that includes First Nations, universities, governments and non-profits. Community presenters will discuss their experience with environmental sensors, such as cameras and audio recorders, and facilitate questions from those interested in further integrating the tools into their own wildlife monitoring programs. (Cabin Radio)
Camera trapping is a tool that has been utilised by conservationists over several decades to obtain critical data on wildlife and their habitat. Such data informs awareness of environmental deterioration and assists in land management decision-making. The modern camera trap consists of a digital camera connected to an infrared sensor which is triggered to record an image or video by thermal movement. Networked camera traps, capable of sending images over phone or satellite networks in near real-time, have overcome the obstacle of physically retrieving footage. Likewise, new software tools and statistical models have made it easier and faster to obtain high-quality information from the thousands of images camera traps quickly generate.
In 2022 the NWT Government Biodiversity Monitoring Program announced the deployment of camera traps with audio recorders to simultaneously capture the soundscape in protected areas, this enables the detection of a wider variety of species. In order to address areas of priority, the program partnered with researchers and community groups to leverage individual sources of funding and capacity.
Community-based partnerships are an important means of integrating traditional knowledge with scientific research. However, sufficient training and public engagement are crucial to ensure that such projects are maintained and cohesive. Consequently, webinars and other information sharing events are an important platform to communicate widely and present the case for supplementary training. The vulnerability of the Arctic environment to the ongoing climate crisis reinforces the value of such projects. (Aurora Research Institute, CBC, Government of Northwest Territories, WWF)