Citizen scientists came out in droves during the eighth annual City Nature Challenge with another record-breaking year – surpassing 1,870,000 wildlife observations over the four-day event which concluded on May 1.
More than 66,300 people documented the incredible diversity of wild plants, animals, and fungi across six continents using the free iNaturalist website and mobile app.
A staggering 57,200 species were recorded worldwide, including more than 2,500 rare, endangered, or threatened species.
“I’m always excited to see new cities, especially those in new countries, join in the City Nature Challenge,” says Alison Young, co-Director of Community Science at the California Academy of Sciences and co-founder of the City Nature Challenge.
“This year, we were thrilled to welcome participants from Baku in Azerbaijan, Maputo in Mozambique, Nairobi in Kenya, as well as several cities in Eswatini, India, Rwanda, and Thailand.”
La Paz, Bolivia took out the top spot with the most observations of any city for the second year running – more than 3,000 participants made about 126,400 observations during the Challenge weekend!
The most observed species this year was our favourite pond-dweller the mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos). Other highlights from around the world also include:
- A giant electric ray with albinism or leucism near Mexico’s Socorro Island.
- A critically endangered buchu plant in South Africa.
- A portly Pacific horned frog in Ecuador
- Asian weaver ants dismembering the queen of a rival colony in Thailand
- A vibrant sea slug in New Zealand.
- An Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin off the coast Hong Kong.
- A pair of red fox pups in England.
- A short-tailed weasel after a successful hunt in the US.
For Young, the Challenge is not only a source of critical biodiversity data but an opportunity for people to connect with nature and each other.
“Slowing down and really seeing how many different species are around you no matter where you are – maybe even finding something you had no idea lived around you – helps to build a deeper appreciation for the natural world,” she says.