Omata School student’s have been supporting the Taranaki Mounga Zooniverse project since it began earlier this year.

Mixing technology, conservation and education has proved popular for students at Omata School, Auroa School and citizen scientists from around the world. All these people are helping to identify predators in Egmont National Park and the Kaitake Range using open source technology. Called Zooniverse, the platform already has over 5,000 images from 36 sensor cameras loaded. Recently, more were uploaded specifically from our mounga.

See the stoat running away on the bottom left of the photo?

Stuart Bennett, Deputy Principal of Omata School says being amateur sleuths has helped grab the pupils’ attention on a serious problem.

“Students seem to like the detective work needed to identify the pests, that’s the appeal,” he says. “It’s also the curiosity and wonderment which comes out as well.”

Tim Sjoberg, Taranaki Mounga Biodiversity Coordinator, says the identifications are providing valuable data on the types of predators that are present and where.

“It enables our team to strategically place traps in areas of larger infestation. In addition, it will provide good data on these predators, both pre and post aerial predator control operations,” he says.

More cameras are planned for Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands and other locations in the national park.

Want to participate? Check out our how-to video starring Omata School students.

Click here to go straight to our Taranaki Mounga Zooniverse project.