'Citizen scientists' asked to help track wildlife near New Brunswick - Nova Scotia border
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is asking for the public’s help with a project that aims to protect wildlife along the New Brunswick - Nova Scotia border.
The organization is encouraging people to use the app – iNaturalist – which allows people to track wildlife sightings near the border.
“People, just regular people like you and I, can become citizen scientists,” says Denise Roy of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Anyone who spots a wild animal - living or dead - is encouraged to snap a photo and enter information about the animal and its location into the app.
“We’re not only looking for roadkill, we’re also looking for any live observations of wildlife or any tracks that are left along the road,” says researcher Amelia Barnes.
“There’s a lot of distance to cover, a lot of roads to try to survey,” says Denise Roy of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “There’s only two people doing it presently, and so we need people’s help.”
One of the goals of the WildPaths Maritimes project is to identify sections of roads and highways between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that present the greatest barriers to wildlife.
The organization says, the more roadkill reported in a certain area, the higher the risk for wildlife there.
The information will help them determine where solutions, such as wildlife tunnels, may be beneficial for conservation efforts.
“Wildlife needs to move across a road to get food or find a mate, and it’s really difficult for them to do that if they’re constantly being struck by vehicles or turning away from a road,” says Barnes.
Porcupines and raccoons are the species most commonly spotted along the border. The area is also known for its mainland moose population, but researchers say, so far, they have only found moose tracks along the shoulders of some secondary roads.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada says the project is the latest step in its ongoing conservation work in the Chignecto Isthmus, which it says is one of the most critical wildlife habitats in the Maritimes.
It has launched the WildPaths Maritimes project with the help of the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, and Dalhousie University.
The project has received funding from the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund and the Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh