NSS wants public to snap and upload photos of wildlife on app

See a bird, butterfly or squirrel outside your window?

The Nature Society (Singapore), or NSS, wants to know all about it: How it looks, where you spotted it and at what time.

All that is needed is a free mobile phone application called iNaturalist. With it, people can simply snap a photograph of the animal or plant encountered, then upload it onto the app along with details such as the date, time and location it was spotted.

The data will be publicly available, and would be useful for researchers learning more about the biodiversity in an area, said Dr Anuj Jain, part of the NSS team spearheading this effort.

"We will also be able to identify the changes in flowering and fruiting patterns of garden plants and understand the impacts of climate change better," he said.

The effort is part of NSS' new citizen science programme, Every Singaporean a Naturalist, which aims to get people to document the wildlife they encounter at work, school or play.

"We hope that by getting people to document the wildlife they encounter on a daily basis, it would help them be aware of the biodiversity that thrives even in the city. That is the first step towards greater appreciation of wildlife," said Dr Anuj.

NSS is starting the programme with a pilot involving six organisations - four primary and secondary schools including Queenstown Primary School and Unity Secondary School, as well as two university clubs from the Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore.

But the hope is that everyone in Singapore will join the programme, he added.

Audrey Tan

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2018, with the headline NSS wants public to snap and upload photos of wildlife on app. Subscribe