The critical first requirement for the Red List assessment of a species is a good and up-to-date distribution map. Without this map, the assessment for a species becomes “Data Deficient” which is an admission of failure: “We do not have enough information about this species to be able to decide where to place it along the spectrum: Least Concern, Near-threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered.”
Even if you do not know your butterflies, your moths, your scorpions, your reptiles, your spiders, your starfish, etc, you can help to build these 21st century distribution maps which are so crucially important. You simply take photographs and upload them into the ADU Virtual Museum. They will be identified by the expert panel for the group.
The ADU’s MammalMAP project is currently partnering the EWT and SANBI to undertake the re-evaluation of the Red List for mammals in South Africa. Our responsibility is to produce the maps on which the assessments are based. If you have photos of mammals, large or small, abundant or rate, from inside nature reserves or (even more valuable) from outside them, please upload them to the Virtual Museum and they will contribute to the Red List assessment. In other words, you are not powerless when it comes to biodiversity conservation. You CAN make a difference.
And each of the other groups will also get their turn to be Red Listed, and re-Red Listed. So please do upload your photos. Start at the Facebook page called ADU Virtual Museum. Click on the cover photo, and it will take you a series of links to slides shows that explain how to do this.
The photo below was the 90000th record to be uploaded to the ADU Virtual Museum through the website upload system. It is a butterfly with the delightful and descriptive common name of Scarlet Tip. Its scientific name is Colotis annae annae. The record was made in 5 July 2014 and uploaded to the Virtual Museum on the same day by Richard Johnstone. The photo was taken at the Zimango Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal. Go to LepiMAP record 49146 to see this record in its Virtual Museum context.
Please help build the 21st century distribution maps. Your photos are needed for completing the big jigsaw puzzle we are steadily constructing.