A database on biodiversity in Taiwan has compiled records of almost 10 million wildlife sightings, making it the second-largest wildlife index in Asia, with the vast majority of data coming from volunteers, the Council of Agriculture’s Endemic Species Research Institute said.
The Taiwan Biodiversity Network, which was launched in 2007, has recorded 9.87 million animal and plant sightings, Ko Chih-jen (柯智仁), an assistant researcher at the institute, said on Friday, adding that India maintains Asia’s largest database with up to 19 million recorded sightings.
Birds are the most widely tracked animals in the nation, with 7.47 million reported sightings, Ko said.
Photo: Yang Yuan-ting, Taipei Times
They are followed by butterflies and moths, with 410,000 sightings, and frogs, with about 100,000, the database showed.
More than 8.5 million, or 87 percent of the sightings, were submitted by volunteers after the institute began accepting reports from the public in 2017, Ko said.
Seven percent of the sightings came from publicly sponsored projects, while 5 percent are based on museum records, he added.
The remainder, accounting for less than 1 percent, came from scientific research, non-governmental organizations or genetic sequencing projects, Ko said.
The database can help conservationists track changes in the population of various species and contribute to public safety.
For instance, the Centers for Disease Control bases the nationwide distribution of antivenom on the database’s records of poisonous snake sightings, institute director Yang Jia-dong (楊嘉棟) said.
In addition to recording wildlife sightings, the institute also promotes civilian science initiatives and education on topics such as roadkill prevention and wildlife conservation on farmland, he added.
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