Presenter: L.E. Pardo – Nelson Mandela University

Pretoria – South Africa is one of the most biodiversity rich countries in the world. However, information on the conservation status of many species is limited.

For this reason, Nelson Mandela University started Snapshot Safari-South Africa, an international collaborative initiative formed to systematically map the diversity and ecological dynamics of South African mammals to inform conservation planning.

Pardo presented an update of the project as well as research questions addressed.

Among other things the research team has surveyed 21 locations across the country, of which 16 are permanent sites for monitoring purposes. This represents a total of 648 permanent sites (independent cameras sites) and 165 roaming sites.

The millions of images produced are classified through a combination of citizen science and machine learning. Thus far, volunteers have processed ten locations, with five sites close to being finalised (Karoo, Kgalagadi, Kruger, Pilanesberg and Gondwana). More than 20 graduate theses are using this data.

In May 2019, Snapshot South Africa organised its first workshop to visualise future collaboration and research questions. The results from this initiative will not only help to understand the distribution, diversity and ecology of mammals, but will also serve to inform conservation plans and management in South Africa.