19. Juli 2024

Stadtbesucher mit eigenem Fotoalbum – Urbane Fauna.

In urban areas, surprising encounters with wildlife such as a fox in the city or a deer in a backyard can now be reported. With the help of knowledge gathered by citizens, efforts are being made to promote nature and biodiversity in urban environments. City residents will soon be able to report sightings of rabbits, badgers, and other wild animals in their vicinity through a dedicated website called „StadtWildTiere“.

The initiative collects sightings of wild animals in cities to raise awareness among residents about the biological diversity in urban areas across Central Europe. Furthermore, the data collected by citizens will serve as a basis for scientific analysis and research. The goal is to enhance and preserve nature and biodiversity in urban settings.

On the website stadtwildtiere.at, anyone can report a sighting of a wild animal in urban areas. The entries are categorized by animal species and location. Photos and videos submitted, including footage from motion-activated cameras, will be published on the site.

Discovering the unseen
Urban ecology is a relatively new field, and until now, urban wildlife populations have not been a focus of studies. „StadtWildTiere allows us to identify hidden patterns and temporal trends, particularly in relation to urban densification and the heat island effect, with a special emphasis on climate change. This initiative can also serve as a sensor for future interactions between humans and wildlife,“ explains study co-author Theresa Walter from the Research Institute for Wildlife Ecology at the Vetmeduni.

Foundations for policy decisions
In the long run, researchers suggest that projects like StadtWildTiere should create a foundation for comparative, international monitoring to fill existing knowledge gaps about urban wildlife populations. The data collected will not only benefit scientific research but will also provide valuable insights for policymakers and wildlife managers to establish effective strategies and measures. This is particularly important in addressing how to enhance biological diversity in cities.

The data obtained from these efforts, according to study co-author Richard Zink from the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Comparative Behavioural Research at the Vetmeduni, have implications beyond the realm of science: „This knowledge is crucial for policymakers and wildlife managers to implement the right strategies and actions. This includes determining how to effectively improve biological diversity in cities.“