Citizen Science Projects

The NVT is a firm proponent of citizen science, where ordinary every day South Africans and visitors can collect useful scientific data. We use several citizen science programs to collect data valuable to our research programs, while at the same time contributing to larger program datasets. We contribute to the following National and International Programs:



The African Raptors Databank (ARDB) aims to ascertain the conservation status of raptors and their habitats across Africa, and to help build the local expertise needed to monitor these indicator species in the future and implement a sound strategy for their effective safeguarding.



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The Coordinated Waterbird Counts (CWAC) project was launches at part of South-Africa’s commitment to International waterbird conservation. This is being done by regular mid-summer and mid-winter censuses at a large number of South African wetlands. All the counts are conducted by volunteers; people and organisations with a passion for waterbird conservation.


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iSpot is mainly used to help you with identification of various life groups (from fungi and lichen to animals and everything in between). By adding an observation you can contribute to projects that are running on iSpot or obtain an ID for one of your observations. You can also make ID’s on the observations of others or agree with an ID that was already made.


ADU Virtual Museum

These ADU maps aim to conserve wild populations of specific plant and animal groups, and their habitats in Africa. It forms part of the Animal Demography Unit’s Virtual Museum and is a database containing photographic record, with dates and occurrence. We contribute to:


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BOP (Birds with Odd Plumage) aims to provide a place where photographs of unusual bird plumages can be curated into one database. Any bird with any unusual plumage characteristic qualifies for inclusion in the virtual museum. This will provide the opportunity to look for patterns. Do certain species have abnormal plumage more frequently than others? Do unusual plumage patterns occur more in some places than in others?



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The continuation of the Southern African Frog Atlas Project (SAFAP). It aims to build on the distribution data collected during seven years of fieldwork (1996-2003), plus earlier data compiled from museum records, private collections, literature and conservation agencies.




The continuation of SABCA, the Southern African Butterfly Conservation Assessment. Lepimap is a project aimed at determining the distribution and conservation priorities of butterflies and moths on the African continent. 




The objective of MammalMAP is to generate 21st century distribution maps for all of Africa’s mammals.



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 This map aims to help solve one of the big mushroom mysteries: "How are they distributed?" Even within South Africa this information is remarkably incomplete.


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A Virtual Museum project aiming to: (1) map the current distribution of the insect Order Odonata, i. e. Dragonflies and Damselflies, occurring in Southern Africa; and (2) to serve as a repository of all existing distribution data for this group in the geographic extent of the project.


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By submitting photos of orchid along with details of where and when the photo was taken, you can help us to improve our understanding of the distribution of South African and African orchids. 


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PHotos of Weaver Nests (PHOWN) is a citizen science monitoring project aimed at determining the distribution of colonies or nests of all weaver species globally, and studying the variation in their colony sizes.


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The continuation of the Southern African Reptile Conservation Assessment (SARCA). It aims to improve our understanding of the diversity and distribution of reptiles in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, and thereby make possible an improvement in the conservation status of these animals.



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The Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2) is the most important bird conservation project in the region. It holds this status because all other conservation initiatives depend on the results of the bird atlas, to a greater or lesser extent. The field work for this project is done by more than one thousand seven hundred volunteers, known as citizen scientists.



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SAFRING administers bird ringing in Southern Africa, supplying rings, ringing equipment and services to volunteer and professional ringers in South Africa and neighbouring countries. They are an essential arm of the Animal Demography Unit and all ringing records are curated by then .Contact is maintained by our Project Coordinator with all ringers.





Elasmobranch Monitoring (ELMO) is a citizen science project, which monitors the Southern African shark and ray populations through public participation.