- Scientists from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore have come up with a new citizen-science repository on Indian mammals, called Mammals of India (MaOI).
2. About Mammals of India (MaO):
- It is an online, peer- reviewed, freely-accessible portal which aims to develop individual species pages for all Indian mammals with information on identification, variation, distribution, breeding and non-breeding ecology and species conservation.
- The website, www.mammalsofindia.org provides an opportunity to any person to upload geotagged photographic observations about mammals with information on habitat age of the observed individual.
- Over time, these observations will be reviewed by subject experts and uploaded on the website.
3. MaOI is a part of the Biodiversity Atlas (India project).
- Under the project, a popular citizen-science website on butterflies of India www.ifoundbutterflies.org had got to 55,000 reference images in eight years.
- Under the same project websites dedicated Moths of India, Cicacds of India, Odonatas of India (dragonflies and damselflies) , Reptiles of India, Amphibians of India and Birds of India are operational.
4. Significance of MaOI:
- So far, there was no portal exclusively for mammals, so these photographic records will help in having distribution map of mammals in the country.
- The photographs will not only help gather information on the distribution of the various species but also interactions between different species of mammals, like predation and mutualism.
- Researchers believe that this initiative will also make more information available about lesser known mammals of the country.
- In one month, this citizen-science initiative has seen photographs of rare species such as Red Serow from Manipur, Lynx (a species of wild cat from Jammu and Kashmir), Asian Golden Cat from Arunachal Pradesh and Binturong/ bear cat, from Arunachal Pradesh being shared for the benefit of researches and public alike.