Sunday, November 30, 2014


Ever thought of using your smartphone to contribute to environmental science or crack down on wildlife smuggling? Turns out there are mobile apps for that, though just how useful they are often depends on where you live or travel.

The use of apps for eco-science and eco-crimefighting is still in its infancy, but the potential is there. Take the area of wildlife smuggling — only a few apps exist, and for limited regions, but the need extends across the globe, says Heidi Kretser, a social scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society who recently co-authored a study of wildlife conservation apps.

"Mobile apps have the advantage of being able to operate without connectivity" if properly designed, notes Kretser. "Websites require connectivity. Phones? Again connectivity is required."

The Wildlife Alert app from the Wildlife Conservation Society is meant to help U.S. military users quickly identify furs, horns and other animal products that can't be legally taken out of Afghanistan.

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