Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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The Greater Bilby (Macrotis lagotis)

The Greater Bilby is an iconic, threatened marsupial that was once widespread throughout arid and semi-arid Australia, including NSW. But due to habitat loss and introduced predators and herbivores, sadly the Greater Bilby has been locally extinct in NSW for more than a century. Taronga is dedicating the next 10 years to the conservation of 10 critical species, one of which is the Greater Bilby. It’s the beginning of a long-term commitment to secure a future for these legacy species, and help them to not only survive, but thrive.

We have recently finished development of a 110-hectare breeding Sanctuary for the Greater Bilby at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The sanctuary aims to provide a safe location in which extensive fencing will prevent introduced predators such as cats and foxes from gaining access. Later this year, bilbies will be released into the Sanctuary and will have the chance to breed. Their offspring will later be released into Sturt National Park in NSW.

A number of camera traps have been set up in the Sanctuary to help identify the presence of predator species, and of course to help keep track of the Bilbies and other natives that call the Sanctuary home. This is where DigiVol comes in.

What is DigiVol?

DigiVol is a crowdsourcing platform used to combine the efforts of many volunteers to digitise data. This data may be in the form of object labels, field notebooks and diaries, recording sheets, or in our case, camera trap images. By uploading our images to DigiVol, volunteers from across the globe are able to work through the pictures at their own pace to identify whether or not an animal is present in the photo, and if so, identify the animal’s species.

This process is followed up with the validation of each photo. This occurs when a trained Taronga team member checks over the photos and determines if each animal has been correctly identified. Doing this ensures that we get an accurate idea of what species are present within the Sanctuary.

You can help us make the Sanctuary a safe space for the Bilby by becoming a Digivol volunteer, and helping us identify what is in our camera trap images.

Once you’re signed in, you’ll be able to search for Taronga Conservation Society within the ‘Institution’ page. For a volunteer tutorial, click here.