Finding Forgotten Fauna

Finding Forgotten Fauna in Australia
Team Name: 
Boys From the Bush

 

Early accounts in old newspaper articles, diaries and books include an amazing diversity of references to many species of wildlife on mainland Australia that are now either threatened or extinct. In South Australia, this "Forgotten Fauna" includes species like dingoes, quolls, pademelons, phascogales, bettongs and bandicoots.

Hidden away in the texts of the 1800s are possibly thousands of additional records that are not currently compiled in any central database; but often provide amazing, highly descriptive accounts, capable of bringing our Forgotten Fauna back to life.

The simple goal of this project proposal is to harness the power of citizen scientists who will help us transform these historic accounts into an integrated on-line resource – making it easy for anyone to find, interpret and use this forgotten data in new ways.

The FINDING FORGOTTEN FAUNA (or F3) computer app will comprise three main components:

  • A data entry portal, where key fields can be entered – such as the species, location and historic record observation date – as well as the ability to upload a scanned, searchable pdf image of the written account;
  • A plug-in for Trove, to make uploading newspaper accounts to the F3 portal easy; and,
  • A plug-in for the Atlas of Living Australia, to collate and map the data, and with embedded links that will allow researchers to instantly view, read and reference the full original written account.

By integrating with Trove and the Atlas of Living Australia, F3 would fill a need for ecologists and historians alike, and is immediately scalable to the national level.

Just think - if only a fraction of the thousands of hours that volunteers all around the country spend correcting text in Trove each month could be harnessed to help build this resource, it would quickly become an incredibly valuable, open access reference library.

This concept will bring historians and scientists together for mutual benefit, breathing new life into a wider discussion about environmental change in Australia and capturing the power of storytelling as a tool for re-connecting the community to our landscapes.

 

Used Datasets: 
Dataset Name: 
Eastern Quoll - fauna observation records
Publishing Organisation/Agency: 
Atlas of Living Australia / DEWNR / SA Museum
Jurisdiction of Data: 
Government of South Australia
How did you use this data in your entry?: 
This data was used to illustrate the scope of existing state databases and how it can potentially be grown and made much more useful, through the addition and cross-referencing of relevant material from other datasets, such as Trove. It was also used to generate the maps used in the video, as the Eastern Quoll was chosen as the main species in the narrative.
Dataset Name: 
Native cat search records from The Border Watch newspaper
Publishing Organisation/Agency: 
Trove - National Library of Australia
Jurisdiction of Data: 
Australian Government
How did you use this data in your entry?: 
This data was used to illustrate the scope of existing data within Trove and how it can potentially be partially converted into a spatial biological dataset, of greater value and use to a wider range of people. This would be achieved through the cross-referencing of relevant material in a form that would be compatible with the Atlas of Living Australia.
Dataset Name: 
Example Native cat article from The Border Watch newspaper
Publishing Organisation/Agency: 
Trove - National Library of Australia
Jurisdiction of Data: 
Australian Government
How did you use this data in your entry?: 
Article was used as an example in the video submission
Dataset Name: 
Eastern Bettong records
Publishing Organisation/Agency: 
Atlas of Living Australia / DEWNR / SA Museum
Jurisdiction of Data: 
Government of South Australia
How did you use this data in your entry?: 
This data was used in the research phase when deciding which species would be highlighted as Forgotten Fauna by the project.
Dataset Name: 
Dingo records
Publishing Organisation/Agency: 
Atlas of Living Australia / DEWNR / SA Museum
Jurisdiction of Data: 
Government of South Australia
How did you use this data in your entry?: 
This data was used in the research phase when deciding which species would be highlighted as Forgotten Fauna by the project.
Dataset Name: 
Tiger Quoll records
Publishing Organisation/Agency: 
Atlas of Living Australia / DEWNR / SA Museum
Jurisdiction of Data: 
Government of South Australia
How did you use this data in your entry?: 
This data was used in the research phase when deciding which species would be highlighted as Forgotten Fauna by the project.
Event Location: 
Mount Gambier