University of Alberta trying out new moose-tracking app

Moose laying in a field

For scientists, tracking moose populations is a tricky process that requires some powerful tools, such as helicopters. But ecologists in Alberta are trying to make the process easier with the help of something even more powerful: your smartphone.

Researchers with the University of Alberta have developed a phone app that will let them track how many moose are in the province and where they are, with the help of local hunters. The app, called Moose Survey, allows hunters to record where and when they see moose in the wild.

Crowdsourcing from hunters all around the province allows scientists to access lots of data without having to conduct their own surveys by helicopter. A similar app was released in BC last year.

Screenshot of Moose Survey app
A screenshot of the Moose Survey app for iPhone.

The data collected through the app will help ecologists understand what’s happening with moose populations, and why. As Mark Boyce, a professor at the University of Alberta and a chair of the Alberta Conservation Association, told Postmedia, “[The app] allows us to detect and understand the impact of changes in harvest regulations, disease outbreaks, territory shifts, and potentially even climate change.”

Hunters will enter data at the end of a day by entering their Wildlife Identification Number and the number of moose they saw. And if they forget, the app comes with a handy built-in reminder. “At the end of every day, your phone will emit the sound of a cow moose in heat to remind you to enter data,” says Boyce.

The app is available for both iPhone and Android.