With support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the UMass Amherst researchers hope that their Mogo App will draw on the large network of ’citizen scientists’ who are actively looking for ways to help save wildlife along the 14,000 miles of northern Gulf coastline.
UMass Amherst wildlife biologist Curt Griffin said that the App allows anyone who finds an oiled animal to upload a photograph of it and its GPS location to a comprehensive database for review by wildlife and fisheries experts using a web browser.
Once uploaded, the iPhone user is then linked automatically by the phone to a Wildlife Hotline so that trained responders can be deployed to rescue the oiled and injured animals.
Users are also encouraged to upload their photos of dead marine and coastal wildlife, tar balls on beaches, oil slicks on water and oiled coastal habitats to the Mogo database.
Whether the project succeeds now rests on how well the word gets out to the public in the Gulf region.
Any person, on land or at sea, wishing to use the free App for their iPhone can go to www.savegulfwildlife.org for more information.