Wild Sydney Harbour

Wild Sydney Harbour is a brand-new citizen science project designed to promote an understanding of the wildlife in and around Sydney Harbour. The idea behind it is simple says the project’s founder, Dr Vanessa Pirotta, a Wildlife scientist and science communicator.

If you see something wild in or around, above or below Sydney Harbour, tag and tell us about it via social media using #wildsydneyharbour! I founded this collaborative, community-based platform as a means of connecting people with their marine environment and with the intention of promoting an understanding of science.

The idea is to harness the power of many eyes and ears on the harbour each and every day to help build an understanding and connection with wildlife in our blue backyard.

Over time, this knowledge will help build a picture of what, where, when and how often marine life occurs in and around the harbour.

The more information we have of wildlife in our backyard, the better informed we are to help protect it and manage future human interactions. This is crucial for one of the busiest harbours in the world!

How does it work?

Citizen scientists (non-scientists) are able to submit observations of wildlife (photos and/or videos) and connect with scientists using the hashtag #wildsydneyharbour via various social media platforms:

Wild Sydney Harbour is designed to document resident and migratory species.

Resident species are animals which live here year-round such as little penguins, fish, sea horses, fur seals, dolphins and sharks.

In comparison, migratory species are those which visit every year for a short time, such as humpback, dwarf minke and southern right whales.

Wildlife sightings can be lodge right now, whether you’re on your way to work on the ferry or enjoying a lovely weekend stroll along the waterfront, if you see something wild, let us know. We are also working towards creating a free, purpose built, accessible application for people to lodge their sightings.

In addition to citizen science, scientific research is also being conducted as part of this platform.

For example, Wild Sydney Harbour is looking at fur seal and dolphin movements in and around Sydney Harbour.

This information is important to better understand where and when these animals are found and the potential for future interactions with the public. This work is being carried out by the Marine Predator Research Group, Macquarie University.

Feature image and guest post by Dr Vanessa Pirotta, a wildlife scientist and science communicator. For more information on the project and how to keep our wildlife safe while watching them, please visit www.wildsydneyharbour.com