Spring has sprung and wildlife is on the move. While exploring a natural area, you might find a snake crossing the trail, a turtle basking on a log, or frogs calling. Now you can report this sighting to the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA) using our new and improved app! By harnessing the power of citizen science, you can increase the collective knowledge of herpetofauna to inform conservation science.
The app includes several new features, including a field guide for the 48 species of reptiles and amphibians found in Ontario. To help identify sightings, the field guide includes a colour photo gallery, interactive range maps and detailed descriptions for each species. Call recordings are also available for frogs and toads.
Sightings from anywhere in Ontario can be submitted in less than 30 seconds using the app on your smartphone or mobile device.
New features of the app:
Geo-tagged photos are recognized in the submission form and automatically upload your location into the observation form so you don’t have to fill it out manually.
In addition to uploading photos with each submission, larger files such as audio and video recordings can also be included with your sightings.
Participants can view a list of their submissions to the atlas, and see when they have been verified and accepted into the database by expert herpetologists.
If you’re in an area without reception, observations can be recorded offline when in the field, and submitted when convenient.
Dynamic maps can be viewed for each species, allowing users to see when a particular species was last recorded in an area.
Participants can also click on individual squares to see the last year a record was submitted.
Download the app today and become a citizen scientist!
If you have the previous version of the app, make sure to download the updated version to access all the new features.
This project is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, and the Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Program.
All illustrations are provided courtesy of the Toronto Zoo.
Smera Sukumar is Ontario Nature’s conservation science assistant.