SMARTDEER is a research project developed by Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology and Behaviour at University College Dublin and funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine. Its objective is to lead the first nationally-coordinated initiative for deer monitoring in Ireland by collecting and analysing empirical data across the country that will help landowners and deer managers to make evidence-based decisions in relation to control and management of wild deer. The project is led by Simone Ciuti, UCD assistant professor of Wildlife Biology at UCD.
The starting point for the project is the fact that neither the up-to-date precise distribution nor the population density of the four species of deer is currently known, and no national coordination in the collection of deer data exists. Meanwhile, recent advances with technologies such as smartphone applications or digital deer mapping surveys have not been implemented for Irish deer so far, and the project aims at filling these gaps by introducing tools that will allow national deer monitoring in real time. The survey is intended to produce up-to-date knowledge of deer distribution across Ireland using expert stakeholder and community-based knowledge. The survey aims to fill data gaps from the last five years (2015-2020) by conducting a baseline survey. Once this baseline data has been collected, the survey will be run annually to track changes in deer distribution in real-time.
There are two elements to the project.
The first is a national survey to which anyone can contribute, by recording sightings of wild deer wherever and whenever they may occur. Participants in the survey first provide some basis information and then record sightings on a real-time map, saving information as they along and remitting the completed survey to a central databank of returns. All information provided is protected by General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
The second element is the smartphone application, SmartDeer, developed for stakeholders to conduct systematic surveys for deer while outdoors and at home., including a record of deer seen or shot.
The smartphone application is currently collecting deer presence and deer density data, culling returns and random sightings among the others. This is an efficient way to guarantee that deer data are collected throughout Ireland into the future.
The app is available on Google Play and App Store under the name SmartDeer.
For detailed information on the project, click here.
(Resources available include Smartphone application & web survey tutorials, Utube video presenting the project to the broader audience, a Powerpoint presentation that is currently delivered to stakeholders and a short paper with details on the SmartDeer project)
To participate in the survey, click here.