Across Africa, the knowledge of mammal distribution patterns is based primarily on historical records. However, the last three centuries have seen extensive human modification of African landscapes with the associated conversion, compression and fragmentation of natural land. With further land development presenting a likely reality for the future, and the prospect of climate change playing its role in modifying landscapes, the effectiveness of mammal conservation efforts depends on the availability of accurate 21st century mammal distribution maps. MammalMAP aims to plot the current distribution of mammal species (including marine mammals and small mammals) across Africa and update the distribution records.
Through collaborations with professional scientists, conservation organisations, wildlife authorities and citizen scientists across the continent, MammalMAP will consolidate current mammal locations into an open-access digital database. The database software will generate online distribution maps that will not only yield crucial information for species and landscape conservation policies, but will provide an excellent platform for educating the public about African mammals and their conservation challenges.
The MammalMAP project is led by the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town and the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria and The Cape Leopard Trust is proud to be one of the largest contributors to the expanding database.
Everyone who owns a digital camera or remote camera trap can participate in MammalMAP. Upload your photographs of mammals, together with the locations at which they were taken in the Virtual Museum database of the Animal Demography Unit at vmus.adu.org.za. The website contains instructions on the procedure to follow.
You too can play a key role in building the 21st century distribution maps.