Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that it plans to work with a fishing-software company called FishBrain to further develop an app that allows users to identify and document encounters with more than 50 at-risk animal species. The information generated by the app will be shared with wildlife managers to help advance their research of America’s rivers.
According to a FWS statement, the GPS-enabled FishBrain app, available here for free, already provides a popular social network for anglers, but the new function will allow them to document encounters with rare species. Biologists and ecologists reviewing the log entries can then determine exactly where sightings occurred; the hope is the information can give wildlife managers a greater understanding of factors that might prevent endangered fish from recovering, as well as shed light on the movements and habitat ranges of threatened species.
“Our users marvel at the beauty of animals and fish as a matter of course; the fact that they can now channel this interest into something as constructive and helpful as data collection is a very special opportunity indeed,” FishBrain CEO Johan Attby said. “We are proud to be reaching our dedicated angling audience to help FWS carry on the amazing work they do.”
Unfortunately, FWS biologists and ecologists couldn’t include as many threatened species on the app as they would’ve liked. So, at this time, the app will only record information for 50 of the most vulnerable species, not all of which are fish. Users will be able to report information on other at-risk animals, such as whooping cranes, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, the California red-legged frog, and Columbia white-tailed deer. FishBrain is available in both iPhone and Android versions. See the complete list of species included in the new app here.