Illegal wildlife trade is one of the world’s most pressing conservation issues nowadays. The rise of Asian emerging economies has further accelerated the exploitation of wildlife to unsustainable trends from across the globe.
In recent years, a number of research studies have indicated China becoming an important trade hub and consumption centre for wildlife and wildlife products. Meanwhile, WCS engagement with law enforcement agencies has shown that a vast majority of the front-line officers interviewed is facing difficulties during on-site species and products identification.
As part of our efforts to revert the wildlife consumption trend, empower government agencies and stimulate a greater public involvement in wildlife protection, WCS China has developed an innovative mobile tool: Wildlife Guardian. Targeted mainly at law enforcement agencies to assist them in identifying occurrences of illegal wildlife trade, this software is a powerful companion also for conservation enthusiasts.
Through this smartphone based software users can easily identify animal species through a straightforward and visually guided search across animal features. In only three easy steps even inexperienced users can effectively identify the species they are looking at.
Let's see a practical test case:
Along with this automatic identification function, WCS will include an additional module that enables authorised users to request online remote support from our experts network. This function will be especially useful in facilitating government agencies actions to enforce compliance with national and international regulations for wildlife protection.
Additional features also included in the Wildlife Guardian app are an easy access to the latest news, laws and regulations related to wildlife conservation.
A preview of this software for iOS platform is available for testing from iTunes store by clicking here. The current database includes over 200 species commonly traded in China. By the end of 2013 a second version will be released featuring extended support also for Android systems and an expanded database of over 400 species, also including animal products.
Please note: The software is currently available in Chinese language only. Some features are currently incomplete and may only be accessed by beta testers through login credentials.