I just spent the last 10 minutes tagging unsuspecting penguins in photos captured by dozens of research cameras. And it was extremely satisfying.
My official contribution to the penguin conservation scene came courtesy of the newly updated PenguinWatch 2.0 initiative, the largest Antarctic citizen-science venture in the world. Researchers studying Antarctica's penguin colonies have set up 100 cameras to conduct the largest-ever census of the birds. The species, severely threatened by climate change, will be monitored to track numbers and gauge their success at breeding.
But with the army of cameras snapping one image every hour throughout the year, the meticulous task of analyzing each picture means there are hundreds of thousands waiting to be tagged. That's where all of us on our lunch breaks (or just with some online time to kill) can help.
By visiting the PenguinWatch website, you can tag the adorable butts and bellies of these beloved birds, their babies, eggs, and even the other animals with which they share the rocky frozen coastline. Want to engage more? There are opportunities to interact directly with the British researchers and inquire about something you spied in a particular photo.
It's super easy. Just look at my incredible penguin-tagging prowess in the photo below.
"We can't do this work on our own, and every penguin that people click on and count on the website — that's all information that tells us what's happening at each nest, and what's happening over time," lead researcher Dr. Tom Hart told the BBC.
Ready to help save some penguins?