RoadWatch: An App to Monitor Wildlife Roadkills across India
New Delhi: The Wildlife Trust of India and David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation have launched a mobile application called RoadWatch to help citizens report wildlife roadkills easily using their smartphones from anywhere in the country. The app can be downloaded from Google’s Play Store or from www.roadwatchers.org.
Road accidents involving wildlife are emerging as a major cause of wildlife deaths in India, with thousands of animals being affected annually.
Wildlife roadkills are associated with the habitat fragmentation that linear infrastructure elements such as roads cause; casualties can result in the decline of wildlife populations, inbreeding, and even local extinctions of endangered wildlife.
The app has been designed to gather necessary data such as photographic records, GPS location, type of animal, date of record etc. The interface is easy to use and allows users to acquire and transmit the data in less than a minute, with minimal effort. “The idea was to build a user friendly and reliable system to collect roadkill information with a high degree of accuracy”, said Wildlife Trust of India’s Jose Louies.
“This application will help in mapping road-kill hotspots, identifying the worst affected species and assessing the efficacy of existing mitigation measures”, said Radhika Bhagat, a wildlife researcher working on the project. This will potentially assist in the better planning of linear infrastructure such as roads.
WTI and DSWF are also planning to initiate a nation wide ‘I brake for wildlife’ campaign with the aim of developing awareness about and gradually reducing the incidence of wildlife roadkills across the country.