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Open Data on wildlife can support conservation

A guide on how to open and protect wildlife data

With the advent of the Internet of Things we are getting used to the fact that almost everything can generate data, from mobile devices and cars to shoes and refrigerators. Less prominent, although unjustly, is the use of data in wildlife conservation. Generating, processing and sharing data about the numbers and the location of endangered species can help to protect and conserve animal population.Despite the numerous benefits and success stories, there are cases in which experts decided not to open wildlife data to prevent poachers and enthusiasts to endanger the animals.

Wildlife specialists have to make an educated and responsible decision how to publish information from wildlife monitoring and surveys leveraging the benefits of open wildlife data for conservation without exposing the animals to potential threats. To support the decision making, scientists have created a decision tool that helps to find out if the need for secrecy is overruled by the possible benefits of transparency. With this tool, as much data as possible can be published with the confidence of having weighed potentials risks in a responsible way. This approach follows the idea that a reliable framework for data protection can create awareness and confidence about opening data. Read more about wildlife data or find more information on protecting and opening data on the European Data Portal.

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