Animal related

Wildtrack Inc

  • Durham, NC
  • www.wildtrack.org

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide non-invasive, cost-effective and sustainable tools and consulting for the ethical monitoring of endangered species. With these tools we aim to provide accurate and reliable baseline information for conservation biology policy makers.

Main Programs

  1. Amur tiger in N.E. China and Russia
  2. Mountain lion in Texas
  3. Cheetah in Namibia
  4. FIT software development
  5. Giant panda in China

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Service Areas

Self-reported

International

WildTrack works with projects throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.  We provide non-invasive monitoring services to for endangered species without geographic restriction.

ruling year

2011

Principal Officer

Self-reported

Zoe Jewell

Keywords

Self-reported

monitoring endangered species; non-invasive; footprint identification; science and technology; wildlife conservation

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Also Known As

WILDTRACK

EIN

68-0681539

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Protection of Endangered Species (D31)

Biological, Life Science Research includes Marine Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology, etc.) (U50)

Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C. (S99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

WildTrack was officially registered as a non-profit organisation in 2011, and funding proposals were launched in late 2012.  During this process we initiated our first project as a 501(c)3 organisation, to use footprints to monitor the endangered Amur tiger in China in conjunction with the Chinese State Administration Feline Research Centre, and WWF China.  Data collected from the field last year have allowed us to develop an effective new Amur tiger footprint identification algorithm, and funding proposals have been submitted to extend this work into Russia for 2013/4.  We have also started writing the FIT v.1 software in JMP data visualisation software, and aim to have this on general release for conservation biologists by mid-2013.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Amur tiger in N.E. China and Russia

Developing FIT for monitoring the Amur tiger in N.E. China, and contiguous Russian ranges, in conjunction with the Chinese State Administration Feline Research Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Duke University, USA.

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Program 2

Mountain lion in Texas

Using FIT to assess the numbers and distribution of mountain lion in Texas, where this species has no official protection.  In association with Jonah Evans of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

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Program 3

Cheetah in Namibia

Developing FIT to run a national census of cheetah in Namibia.  At present estimates of cheetah in Namibia range between 2,500 and 10,000, and there is no effective means of monitoring.  In association with Na'an ku se cheetah research, Namibia.

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Program 4

FIT software development

We are currently creating a unique FIT add-in for JMP software to enable FIT to be used independently by conservationists where needed.  We anticipate this will be ready in the first beta version by June 2013.

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Program 5

Giant panda in China

Not available

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None

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Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    What are our Goals?

    WildTrack is a small, highly mobile, and efficient 501(c)3 organization. Our goals are focused on finding practical solutions for one of the most pressing problems of our time; the global loss of biodiversity. Human societies depend entirely on the preservation of this biodiversity for the fresh air, water, soil, medicines and natural resources that we draw from it.

    In order to safeguard these resources for future generations we need to monitor and mediate the impacts we have on the planet. However, we urgently need reliable data on the numbers and distribution of endangered biodiversity, from individuals to species. This forms the motivation of our goals.

    Many current conservation monitoring programmes rely on invasive and costly approaches, which are, by their nature, limited in scope. Our primary goals are focused on developing and implementing non-invasive and sustainable approaches that will yield the data we desperately need.

    Our goals can be divided into three main categories:

    a. To research and develop new non-invasive technologies to optimize effective data collection on the numbers and distribution of endangered species in threatened habitats.

    b. To provide consulting for field research groups on the effective use of non-invasive, cost-effective and community-inclusive techniques for biodiversity monitoring.

    c. To encourage ethical decisions in conservation monitoring and planning. For example, how can we engage the skills of local communities in conservation monitoring for a win-win outcome? How can we balance the welfare of individual animals with our desire to preserve species? How can we ensure that conservation funding is spent wisely by using cost-effective solutions, and that the data we collect are valid?
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    What are our strategies to make this happen?

    WildTrack's goals combine academic research with practical field implementation, through innovative multi-disciplinary approaches.

    Our academic research strategy is to have a strong academic base with expertise from a wide range of disciplines to draw upon. We now have unrivalled academic collaborations and resources through our positions with both Duke University, and the SAS Institute (the largest privately owned software company in the world) both in the renowned Research Triangle area, North Carolina, USA. This area, with three world-class universities and a range of global research corporations, has allowed us to collaborate across a multi-disciplinary range to provide solutions drawn from engineering, computer science, ethics, anthropology and statistics.

    Our field implementation strategy is to build a strong network of field projects across a range of endangered species and habitats, in which to test our innovative approaches. To date we have 19 partner projects on 5 continents ranging from Amur tiger in NE China to the Mountain lion in Texas, to the Lowland tapir in Brazil.

    We designed our footprint identification technique (FIT) when we worked with indigenous expert trackers in Zimbabwe and Namibia for ten years. We learned how important these and other components of traditional ecological knowledge are in making conservation sustainable on the ground. This has become a central strategy when compiling toolboxes for conservation.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    What are our Capabilities?

    WildTrack has a small but diverse board of Directors whose expertise ranges from forensic microscopy and science, to medical expedition work to international marketing management. We have strong backgrouds in relevant fields. The President, Zoe Jewell, has a degree in veterinary medicine from Cambridge University, and the Director, Sky Alibhai, has a D.Phil in zoology from Oxford University.

    We have integrated research and development with practical field application through a unique combination of support from the SAS Institute and Duke University, where techniques developed at the former are trialed and tested in the field by Masters and PhD students at Duke, supervised by Jewell and Alibhai.

    Drs Alibhai and Jewell have published widely on conservation monitoring and conservation ethics (http://wildtrack.org/about-us/wildtrack-publications/) and communicated their work globally through conference and public talks and media. Communication of our mission is of central importance to WildTrack, as we seek to examine the status quo of conservation monitoring and ethics, and find more sustainable solutions.

    Through the SAS Institute educational STEM outreach and Duke University we are engaged in educating high school students through to PhD level, by describing our multidisciplinary work in the context of STEM and conservation.

    Our research partners include universities, NGO's, global corporations, small start-ups and governments around the world across disciplines as diverse as engineering and conservation biology.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    How do we measure our progress?

    WildTrack's central mission is to develop and apply new non-invasive techniques for monitoring endangered species. We therefore primarily measure our progress in terms of the field projects we have attracted, and the techniques we have been able to develop.

    We also measure our progress by the number of conservation biology students who adopt our systems to trial in the field, engineering students who work to design drones to help us, volunteers who help us collect footprints.

    Our progress can also be assessed by the advances in the image identification software we design with developers at the SAS Institute and share around the world with field colleagues. Images of animals or the traces they leave behind form a biometric 'marker' and these markers form a strong component of our research.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    What have we accomplished and where do we plan to go next?

    Since we formed WildTrack in 2004 we have grown 19 field projects over 5 continents, and developed an award-winning footprint identification technique (FIT).

    We have developed FIT algorithms for the black and white rhino, Lowland and Baird's tapir, Mountain lion, African lion, cheetah, Amur tiger and Bengal tiger, Giant panda, dormouse, Polar bear and brown bear.

    We have implemented monitoring systems through full training workshops and technology transfer for using FIT for cheetah in Namibia, Amur tiger and Giant panda in China.

    Where to next? We're currently working with engineers, computer scientists, statisticians, ethicists and earth scientists to develop further non-invasive monitoring tools that will form a new synergy in a conservation FIT toolbox.

    We are currently developing new species algorithms for leopard, brown hyena and painted hunting dog. We are always willing to consider requests for help in monitoring species outside our current FIT algorithm range.

    Our aim is to provide a cost-effective and practical set of technologies that will greatly expand the reach of conservation monitoring. By combining a group of non-invasive techniques we will have a broad and effective coverage of our most at-risk areas.

    At the same time we are working to document and engage the extraordinary traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of indigenous experts in this process – these previously marginalised groups, together with recreational visitors, may hold the key to expanding the data capture we desperately need for biodiversity conservation.

    Read more about our work, including "Monitoring endangered species, without further endangering them" in the Nicholas School Magazine, Duke University. Available online at: http://wildtrack.org/news-and-events/recent-media/
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

WildTrack works with projects throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.  We provide non-invasive monitoring services to for endangered species without geographic restriction.

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Funding Needs

WildTrack is in the process of fundraising.  We are a new organisation and need funding for all four current projects.  Please contact us for details.  All contributions, no matter how small, are valuable.

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Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Wildtrack Inc

Leadership

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  • Forms 990 for 2015 and 2011
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Zoe Jewell

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"We are embarking on our first full operational year in 2013.  We hope to make a real difference in the way in which wildlife monitoring is conducted in the areas we work, and to empower local people in this process."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Diana Levey

JMP, SAS Institute

Term: Dec 2012 - Dec 2013

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?