Monitoring of White-tailed Deer Population using Citizen Scientists in Kalamazoo Neighborhoods
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Deer overpopulation has become an issue in many urban and rural areas across the country and many cities across Michigan. Tracking the population in urban areas has never been as difficult as it has been in recent history due to deer herds’ continual movement into new habitats from habitat loss. The tracking of this population can be inconsistent with the actual population since most of the deer population is estimated. As of late in the scientific community, there has been a new method of collecting data in which it has the general public collecting the data. This new method of collecting data is noninvasive to the animals and gives a perspective on the population in certain areas. In this study, I looked at the deer population found in Kalamazoo Michigan neighborhoods, using images from the city’s residents. I used an application called iNaturalist to track the movement and population by having the residents take pictures of deer. The photos were then plotted using Google Earth to track the different sizes of herds within the neighborhoods. The results saw a total finding of 14 herds within the neighborhoods, with the majority of the sightings within one neighborhood. There is a distinct difference among the neighborhoods in habitats that could have affected the number of deer within them, and the larger neighborhoods had more abundant natural resources than smaller neighborhoods. For this project's future of using citizen science to monitor the deer population in Kalamazoo, there will need to be more evenly dispersed participation among all the neighborhoods, which will allow for a more accurate reading of how many deer are in each neighborhood.