26 September 2023

Citizen scientists invited to save sea lions

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The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has called for South Australian’s citizen scientists to help save endangered Australian sea lions by logging into the Sea lion Spotter portal as part of a data blitz.

Marine Park Ranger with the NPWS, Dirk Holman said the portal was an online depository of drone images used to count sea lion populations living on the remote South Australian west coast.

“Anyone with internet access can help NPWS staff and research scientists to remotely count populations of adult and pup Australian sea lions,” Ranger Holman said.

“The Sea lion Spotter app was developed to provide an easy way for anyone with an interest in sea lions and marine life to contribute to the recovery of the endangered species,” he said.

Ranger Holman said that in December 2020, the Australian sea lion went from vulnerable to endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

“Researchers have been monitoring the South Australian west coast colony since 1999,” he said.

“While pup numbers peaked in the early 2000s with over 600 pups, numbers have since almost halved.

“The most important question we have to answer each year is how is their population trending?

“Are we getting good numbers of new sea lion pups making it through to be become healthy young juveniles and ultimately mature, breeding adults, or are certain colonies having problems?

“By using the Sea lion Spotter, the public can help count and identify different age class sea lions from more than 1,500 photos taken using our research drone.”

The Sea lion Spotter can be accessed at this PS News link.

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