Indigenous animal tracking saving Australian marsupials from extinction

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-29 09:18:25|Editor: xuxin
Video PlayerClose

CANBERRA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- A smartphone application that allows indigenous Australian rangers to track endangered species' in their own language has been hailed a success.

Using the Tracks App, which was developed by the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) - a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), indigenous rangers can input tracking data in Warlpiri or Warramungu - two of the most common indigenous languages - and English.

The app has been used by 19 ranger groups to track more than 40 species since it was launched in March 2018 and was among the winners of CSIRO's annual awards for 2019.

Its launch coincided with the Central Land Council's Bilby Blitz, a national effort to gather data about the bilby, an endangered iconic desert-dwelling marsupial.

"The Tracks App enabled rangers to use their own language when making records and share data for the first time when recording the distribution of bilbies," Hamish Holewa, deputy director of the ALA, said in a media release on Friday.

"The data recorded through the Tracks App updated and expanded existing knowledge about bilby distribution and informed the national bilby recovery plan, the first national threatened species plan developed with significant input from Aboriginal people.

"The Tracks App reduces technical barriers to Indigenous communities participating in valuable scientific work using their first language and traditional tracking practices and to pass on these skills and knowledge to future generations."

The ALA plans to expand the range of languages available on the app so as to make it accessible to the 46 ranger groups in the broader Indigenous Desert Alliance.