What is Arctic WildlifeWatch?
Arctic WildlifeWatch is a citizen science initiative that asks people to submit their observations of animals commonly found in the Canadian Arctic. These include land mammals, marine mammals, and (coming soon) birds. Whenever you see wildlife, use your smartphone, tablet, or home computer to submit your observation and upload a photo, if possible. Your observations will be stored and pooled with those submitted by other people. You can view observations on our web map and share your interest in Arctic wildlife on our social media pages. The database of observations is shared freely with researchers and conservationists hoping to monitor and protect Canada’s Arctic wildlife.
Why your help is needed
Canada’s Arctic environment is changing rapidly due to the impacts of climate change. Permafrost is beginning to melt in some land areas, and the distribution and thickness of sea ice is rapidly changing. The timing of the change of seasons is staring to shift, and periods of unusually warm temperatures have started to occur more frequently. At the same time, human activity in the Arctic, including resource development and shipping, is expanding. All of these changes have the potential to affect feeding and breeding habits and overall health of Arctic wildlife, and many of our indigenous Arctic animals are now officially designated as being species at risk.
Scientists have been monitoring Arctic wildlife for many decades. However, scientists can’t be everywhere, and the rate of environmental change is accelerating. To successfully monitor and conserve Canada’s Arctic wildlife across such vast areas of land and sea, we need everyone’s help. Citizen science projects in other parts of Canada and the world have shown that nature observations made by the general public provide valuable and reliable data for scientists. It is very easy to do, and Arctic WildlifeWatch has been specifically designed to be used by people of all ages.
Please help us monitor Canada’s Arctic animals by trying Arctic WildlifeWatch, and share it with your friends and family. If you’re someone who is interested in Arctic plants and flowers, we already have a citizen science project for you. PlantWatch asks Canadians to submit observations of common Arctic flowers such as bearberry, cloudberry, partridgeberry, and Labrador tea – please give it a try!