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One of the Animal Demography Unit’s core values reads like this:
• Conservation: Informing, influencing and motivating biodiversity policy development based on sound quantitative and scientific evidence through our commitment to long-term monitoring and analysis.
Ultimately, the point of all the data collection which is the Animal Demography Unit's bread and butter is to contribute to the development of biodiversity policy. And it is our citizen scientists who collect this information. The first half of November has seen targets mostly being met, and where we have come short of target, the deficits are redeemable in the second half of the month.
For the Virtual Museums at vmus.adu.org.za a good month means that more than 3000 records collected. The figure for October was 3229. In the first 15 days of November, the total was 1490, almost exactly on target. A new Virtual Museum initiative, by one of our partners, Ian Engelbrecht, a PhD student at the University of Pretoria, was the launch of the baboon spider atlas. Read up about this here. It is to celebrate this event that the photo illustrating this news item is a baboon spider! It is the Horned Baboon Spider Ceratogyrus darlingi.
For SABAP2, we aim to average 50 checklists submitted per day. That is 750 checklists for the first 15 days in November. We achieved 95% of this, 709 checklists. The database grew by 40136 full protocol records and 2873 incidental records. SABAP2 coverage for 2013 alone grew to 26.2%. With a healthy dollop of holiday atlasing, we are on track to reach our SABAP2013 target of 30% by the end of the year.
The four degree cells centred on Gauteng are home to about 30% of South Africa’s population, and we give this area, which is subject to the pressures of development, special attention every year. This year we are aiming at at least one checklist in each of the 576 pentads in the region. During the first half of November, coverage increased from 494 (80.4%) pentads to 510 (85.1%). That is impressive. We are also aiming for a total of 3456 checklists for this area in 2013. This increased by 165 to 2942 checklists. That is an average of 11.0 checklists per day. There’s another 514 checklists to reach the target, and 46 days to collect them, and that is 11.2 checklists per day.
One of the predictions of climate change is that migration, especially long-distance migration, will be disrupted. The SpringMAP project is documenting the timing of arrival on migration this spring. With two weeks to go, we have collected 3892 checklists this spring alone. Please make a special effort to atlas your regular pentads one final time, to confirm that the bulk of the migrants have arrived!
Thank you to all the Citizen Scientists who contribute to all of our projects. Together we are making a difference to the conservation of biodiversity in our region.