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Yellowstone crowdsources visitor photos to help study wolf disease, dynamics

The next time you visit Yellowstone National Park and manage to snap a great wolf photo, you could also be helping researchers as they monitor everything from infectious diseases to breeding habits among the elusive animals.

A Penn State University graduate student working on the Yellowstone Wolf Project has launched an Internet campaign to raise funds for a website that will let visitors upload wolf photos along with location information and other data. The goal is to track the spread and progress of sarcoptic mange among individual wolves and packs. But the effort could also prove helpful to other areas of wolf research.

Yellowstone wolf studies have long relied on field photos and images taken from research aircraft as important data sources, but scientists also sometimes use visitor photos to help answer questions about specific wolves.

“We’ve found that the visitor photos have been incredibly helpful, and rather than searching for all of those on our own time, this would allow us to find and use them in a more organized way,” said Emily Almberg, who set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise $7,000 for a website that will solicit, organize and archive wolf photos.

Read the entire article on billingsgazette.com: Yellowstone crowdsources visitor photos to help study wolf disease, dynamics

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