If you’re traveling to Southeast Asia, there is an app that will allow you to identify and report wildlife that is being illegally traded.
In 2014 Sydney’s Taronga Zoo partnered with TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, to create Wildlife Witness, the first global community action smartphone app in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. The app allows tourists and locals to easily report wildlife trade by taking a photo, pinning the exact location of an incident and sending these important details to TRAFFIC.
Reports by app users will be analyzed by a Wildlife Crime Data Analyst and over time, the information will help build data and enrich understanding of illegal wildlife trade across the region, help prioritize response action and highlight areas in need of increased enforcement resources.
Wildlife Witness will also feature information on species threatened by trade, how they are often traded, as well as tips for reporting wildlife crime safely. Its current focus is the South-East Asian region which serves as source, consumer and transit hub in both the legal and illegal trade of wildlife. It is hoped app users will include the growing number of tourists to Southeast Asia as well as the region’s own smartphone users and over time will expand on what is known about illegal trade here.
The app was developed with funds from the Vodafone Foundation’s App Aid competition. It has been developed for both iPhone and Android devices. Wildlife Witness is free to download from the App Store. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wildlife-witness/id738897823?mt=8 or for Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.taronga.wildwitness
Natural History museums have an important opportunity to promote this this app to their visitors and researchers who are visiting the region. Read more about the app and the initiative at this link.