Tech

This Waze-Like App Helps You Spot, Record, and Protect the Philippines’ 52,000+ Species

It’s the Waze of the jungle.
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There’s no denying the Philippines’ biodiversity. Our 7,000+ islands are home to over 52,000 species, and more than half of those are unique only to the Philippines. But of the country’s 200 key biodiversity areas, less than 50 percent are protected and monitored by the government. The rest are outside the network of protected areas, creating the challenge of protecting these areas against threats like poachers and pollution.

Enter BioMon, a biodiversity and threats monitoring mobile application that was created by the Center for Conservation Innovation PH Inc. (CCIP) to solve the problem. Filling the gap of unmonitored biodiversity areas, BioMon allows users to gather and analyze data about these areas while on the field. It essentially crowdsources information uploaded by scientists, volunteers, and even hikers who go into these areas and spot unique animals and plants.

You can report three types of observations: Wildlife, Threats, or Habitat.

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How does it work? After you sign up to the app, click the “Start Your Patrol” button to officially begin your groundwork. The app’s GPS automatically tracks your location, and from where you are, you can report the wildlife, habitat, or threats in the area.

Simply take a picture, label the observation, and fill out all the necessary details. Once you’ve uploaded all your data, the information will be added to BioMon’s database, which will then organize the information into graphs and maps.

You can also upload an image with each observation.

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It’s basically the Waze of the jungle.

According to a report by FlipScience, Waze was the very inspiration of the app. Dr. Neil Aldrin Mallari, president of CCIPH, said to the science network, “We asked ourselves, ‘What if we get the functionalities of Waze and use it for biodiversity?'”

The app can help determine which areas contain rare species like the tarsier or the giant golden-crowned flying fox. Aside from that, it also alerts users if there are threats like garbage or illegal timber harvesting occurring in these habitats.

If you’re planning to head into the jungle anytime soon, download the BioMon here and do your part in the conservation of Philippine biodiversity.

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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