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Kiwi developed wildlife tracker to help endangered kea

Wellington-based ICT business, Boost New Media, has developed a brand new app for the Kea Conservation Trust named ‘Wildlife Tracker,’ enabling New Zealanders and tourists to help locate endangered South Island parrot, the kea.

As the world’s only alpine parrot, the Kea is a symbol of the South Island and has had full protection by the New Zealand government since 1986.

Boost New Media, a web/app development and Agile training consultancy, developed the app as pro bono work after meeting Tamsin Orr-Walker, director of the Kea Conservation Trust at Start-Up Weekend in Queenstown of October this year.

“Tamsin’s idea for an app that could help to protect and identify the kea and other wildlife inspired us,” says Boost’s general manager, Kirstin Donaldson. “We believe in protecting wildlife and as the Kea Conservation Trust would not be able to afford to develop the app without assistance, it was a great opportunity to get involved.”

The app is a 'simple yet effective' tool designed for New Zealanders and tourists to identify and track keas and other wildlife in the New Zealand bush. When the user opens the app, they have three options: take a photo, submit a photo from their picture library or view a species list.

When a photo is taken or submitted, the app takes the user to a list of birds and animals endangered in New Zealand. Once the user has selected the animal they have photographed, the information is directly submitted into an email. The email includes the photo, GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken, date and time.

Once the email is sent, the Kea Conservation Trust is able to analyse the data and track the birds. The crowd-sourced information will allow for the Kea Conservation Trust to track keas and their movements, allowing for better protection by understanding their movements and patterns.

The Kea Conservation Trust plans to use the data from the app to help other conservation organisations to track endangered animals from all over New Zealand.

Tamsin Orr-Walker, director of the Kea Conservation Trust, states, “there are many of us in conservation who are passionate about protecting wildlife, but we don’t have the resources to keep tabs on all of the animals that need our help. This app will allow people all around New Zealand help us track and identify keas and other endangered species.”

The app is currently available in the Apple Store at no charge, and a free Android app is currently in development. New features that add more information on species and conservation projects are currently in development for further release.