# endangered species ?

Discussion in 'General Science' started by Mathematics!, Feb 9, 2012.

1. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
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Hi, I am wondering if their are any environmental scientists out their that could answer this question.

How does one know if an animal is endangered. (like how do you obtain a population estimate of a particular animal or species)

For humans that can be done with tax forms , voters list, census , death certificates,...etc to get a good approx. to the population growth/death rates and population numbers of people in a particular area.

But for animals or other species its not like we can just ask them to fill out a form.
Even if we tag a few with tracking devices I find little data can be obtained on the population numbers or weather they are endangered or not or going to be in the near future.

Example
How did they know Panda Bears are endangered and an approx. number still alive.
How could one be certain that it was accurate?

Question 2)
Is their a centralize place (site/public database) to look up the populations number/statistics of a given animal/species and in what area they live or are found in ?

2. ### shortbus AAC Fanatic!

Sep 30, 2009
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Can I ask a personal question? How old are you? Are these questions you ask for homework?

Like this one Google would get the answer for you quicker.

3. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
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I have googled a little bit.
But haven't found anything explaining how they know if an animal is endanger.
I would suspect they would have to know an approx. population count of these animals under consideration.

And what I don't get is how they can come up with an accurate way of doing it.
I.E animals really have no form of id...humans are much different in that we have forms ,...etc we can go by.

Even if they do a population count in a specific known area you cann't be sure that other areas of same size will have approx. about the same population numbers.
So even if they where to take a sample in a small area then generalize to a larger one that won't always work.

And this was just a curious question I had.
No one has ever been able to answer it completely for me.

Jul 9, 2011
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5. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
1,022
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Perfect , I also read this
http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/youthdevelopment/components/6340-02.html

But yours is more informative on how it breaks down the different ways to obtain population/population density.

All these methods though are just a rough approx. to the real thing.

In theory though the essential thing is we need an efficient way to count animals/species.

Even with those methods they are rough at best usually.

May I suggest using satellite/remote imaging and having some sort of OCR software that counts them. (this would be more accurate almost perfect and free up environmentalists from having to manually do it. As well it can be done at any time to give other statistics like animal flow ,...etc)
The government has the technology for zooming in to read a news paper why not zoom in to count animals/species (other then humans for privacy reasons).

A company that has millions of computers (like google , government ,..etc) could easily set it up on a distributive computing based way.

Hell if they where willing to do it I would definitely work with them on it.
As well this procedure would also work in counting other things that people may find useful like sunken ships, amount of garbage in an area, flow of things like pollution ,...etc (the possibilities would be endless they would be determined by the computing power , and the precision of the OCR and satellite/remote imaging ...but looks to me we have the ability to get the procession main problem would be speed of processing/computing)

Even if the computing was hard to do in the large small regions /areas could be done in pieces.

Essentially free up people from ever really having to count anything when it come to these things...
And another cool feature we could base hunting seasons on it , know when something is on the verge of extinction and pop up a warning.
The ultimate environmentally protection machine.
Definitely would want to work on developing software / using this system.
The system could be setup on a REST / SOAP framework that access a central databases so that every environmentalist could check a specific region and compare theres with others (collaborate on how to make a better environment for their animals etc etc)

Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
6. ### justtrying Active Member

Mar 9, 2011
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another key factor is loss of habitat and whether the species is adaptable to new environment. Think of polar bear and panda. The worst ones are the highly specialized species that we do not know about and find out about after we wiped them out. These are mostly birds and insect in forests or on small islands.

Curious to now how you propose that your remote sensing system would work - have to be able to distinguish between species, find animals that are hiding... Currently what is popular is to tag animals with transmitters to collect long term data regarding migration patterns. Check out some things on white sharks, apparently they do not just hang around the coastlines. I studied biology for my first degree and disagree with tagging as it is deeply invasive and stressful for the animals (bears are examined while in hibernation), I believe that the data we collect is therefore not representative of true behavior. Before these scientific methods were employed, native hunters (and I don't mean native americans, but any population hunting or fishing for living) would self-regulate the amount of hunt because they observed the behavior of the animals that they lived with, but with money at the driver seat, everything is messed up now. Hence, just in the recent years, we had the cod crash, lobster crash, trying to avoid salmon crash, tuna is over-fished, etc etc...

It was often said that the most reliable data is from local population living in the area, from hunters and local fishermen as they observe the trends over time - scientists often rely on them to spot unexpected trends first because they know what is usual for the area. They are also the most interested in preserving the environment

7. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
1,022
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Well , don't want to get into the details but if the government or company was willing to use their satellite to remote imaging a particular place and zoom in far enough that they could view all the animals. (say use the satellite to get pictures of resolution good enough to see the animals in the remote image)
Then I could write software that goes thru the images and counts the numbers of a certain animals.

Doing this on enough machines would allow us to get a really good big picture of where things are latitude and longitude wise.
At a particular instance in time we would have the complete location of everything that we are anaylsising .

From that one could build a database of the data and do what ever calculation you wanted.
And if we improved are computing time to say take picture every hour of all the regions then maybe we would be able to analysis the flow of animals as well.

Maybe that will have to wait until we go to quantum computers for computing reasons.

But in theory this should work.
Provided we have the computing power and speed to do it in a reasonable amount of time with alot of fast computers out their.

8. ### justtrying Active Member

Mar 9, 2011
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look up info on aerial counts. Then try to figure out how to remove double count errors etc from satellite imagery. As an example of precision, orca populations in BC, since the are residential, orcas are named and characterized. Wild horses are endangered in some areas as well, individuals are also named and characterized. Interesting idea though, computers do need work

9. ### loosewire AAC Fanatic!

Apr 25, 2008
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You have National Park services,the states have fish and game services.

You have known animal times of having young ones, you have hunters and

groups that study all the animals.So when all these figures are compiled you

get some of count of birds and animals.The people that does are out in the

field,watching and using photo equipment in restrcted areas that count the

wild population. In the spring when most animal have young,the pro's know

where to look for nest,if they find three, they will times that and come up with

numbers.You have alot of people out in the wild,when people start selling

animal skins and bird eggs the government take notice. There are always

studies going on that you never see,animals and birds being tagged and followed

radio equipment,so I hope that helps answer your question.If you go out pick a

plant or capture something you will be arrested for not knowing the law.

10. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
1,022
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I here what you are saying

But it just would make since to try to have a computer do it the way I was saying to.
It would take some work but it is definitely possible.

And if you succeed in doing it their will be an easy way to get information on non-human species population , density ,....etc

At least it will give environmentalists a choice in automatism the process or doing it manual.
And I believe automatism it will be more accurate and preferred in a lot of ways.

Anyway not going to go out and do any of this stuff just want to know how it works...
I think I get the gist of how it works.... and how it can be improved.

11. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
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Thing is, these are just the latest tools in a very old art. Many animals will make it just fine on their own, it is humans that tend to screw them up. It was argued that wolfs hurt deer and elk, as well as taking down ranchers stock. Turns out the former was bogus. Big surprise, when you shoot every wolf in site (or Bison) then they really all can disappear. Humans do war well, even on other species.

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12. ### praondevou AAC Fanatic!

Jul 9, 2011
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Yes and Yes. So true.

Thanks

13. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
20,766
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Thing I forgot to mention is when wolves were reintroduced the other big animals thrived. Elk came back where they were in short supply before. The wolves had a role to play, even though we didn't understand it.

14. ### loosewire AAC Fanatic!

Apr 25, 2008
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That is there goal,using radio transmitters and other tech stuff to do a better

job of counting and helping the animal population to survive. I have studied areas

for the highest animal in the food chain. The best studies are endangered by

exoctic species being released in the wild,in the case of birds they can bring

disease across borders,deadly disease to the N.E. cities.

15. ### justtrying Active Member

Mar 9, 2011
329
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So true, every eco-system is self balancing provided there are no external forces acting on it. Wolves would change their diet based on availability of prey, number of offspring changes for all species across the system. All we are good for is disruption - moose in eastern Canada, rat invasions, Australia with frogs, atlantic salmon in the pacific. These are the worries.

16. ### Mathematics! Thread Starter Senior Member

Jul 21, 2008
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I agree with all of you about humans being more a destruction/disrupting part of the world.
And we are ever growing in numbers....

I do think if we did the remote imaging we would get rid of this problem. We could use different frequencies other then light like infrared or others to get all the animals even the ones hiding

17. ### loosewire AAC Fanatic!

Apr 25, 2008
1,584
435
They are doing that with humans now,hi tech instruments in low tech places,

like the side of the road monitoring traffic for different things. Mounted secure

on utility poles.