The Arizona Game and Fish Department has launched a novel website to map the wildlife and conservation potential of Arizona. The point of the wildlife and habitat mapping is to provide information for planners to avoid construction of infrastructure or buildings too close to natural habitat critical to the survival of wild animals. The new website also allows conservationists to monitor animal populations and their distribution. Additionally, it can be used by students to learn about conservation.
Development is one of the main sources of stress for wild animals because it takes over their habitat, subjects them to vehicle traffic resulting in fatalities and injuries, diverts water, and adds disturbing sound levels not normally found in nature. Arizona has more than 800 species of wildlife, so having a central repository of data with many different layers will be helpful in prioritizing conservation strategy. The state’s human population is expected to grow from today’s level of 6.4 million to 10 million by 2030, so careful planning to conserve wildlife and habitat is crucial.
“HabiMap is a critical outreach program. In addition to biologists and land planners, this can educate young students of how to help in conservation efforts for generations to come. Just like cell phones and computers, it will become second nature to them. When you’re watching a wildlife program on television, you’re often seeing how animals from other countries are threatened. When you get to see it up close and personal, it makes a difference,” said Sandy Cate, a Game and Fish Department worker. (Source: Ahwaktuhkee.com)
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