Get Regular Updates!




An echidna caught on camera

Smile, you’re on candid camera

Get ready for your close up, wildlife – the camera’s on you.

Smile, you’re on candid camera

The Western Shield Camera Watch project is bringing together citizen scientists from around the world to help control pests and conserve native mammals in Western Australian forests.

Dr Michelle Drew, a zoologist with Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), says the aim of Western Shield is to manage foxes and feral cats which threaten native wildlife. Running since 1996, Western Shield has since expanded to include Camera Watch.


The Camera Watch project was introduced in April 2016 when Michelle, just starting the role, realised there was a huge backlog of images to sort through.

Hosted by Zooniverse, the world’s largest online platform for collaborative volunteer research, it lets anyone be a researcher – you just need an internet connection and a bit of time to spare.

“We have 3,195 volunteers, but at its peak there were up to 5,000,” Michelle said.

“At that time we had 100,000 images that needed identifying.”

It’s easy to get involved. Log into the website where you can look at different images recorded by 90 automated cameras in various forest areas in WA.

A feral cat gets ready for its close up . Credit: DPaW View Larger
Image |


A feral cat gets ready for its close up
Black-gloved wallaby . Credit: DPaW View Larger
Image |


Black-gloved wallaby
A fox caught in action . Credit: DPaW View Larger
Image |


A fox caught in action
A curious woylie . Credit: DPaW View Larger
Image |


A curious woylie


Don’t worry if you don’t know what you’re looking for – the website provides a step-by-step guide to correctly identifying animals by their shape, size, colour and markings.

Twenty citizen scientists look at each image and the results are run through an algorithm. Michelle then measures this data with stats of her own and develops modelling to show the rate of native mammals versus predators, like foxes and cats.

“It’s an adaptive management approach that lets us adjust our baiting,” she says.

“It doesn’t require a lot of skill, just a good eye.”

View Larger
Wedge-tailed eagle


Sponsored by Google and other philanthropic agencies, Zooniverse is fully run by volunteers with glitches ironed out by tech professionals free-of-charge.

Michelle says a “social media cascade” kicked off the project, with Facebook and Twitter used to spread the word.

“There are key volunteers that are extraordinary and the work they do is phenomenal,” says Michelle. “Then you get your ring-ins who classify for five minutes and move on.”

Michelle says one of the strongest volunteers is a school teacher from the Czech Republic.

“I watched the questions she asked and she was doing a great job,” Michelle says.

She’s been promoted to a project moderator role, meaning she’s a point-of-contact for other citizen scientists and keeps an eye on discussions.

Word on the project has continued to grow.

In 2016, Western Shield took home the annual Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management in the Managing the Environment category (shared with City of Bayswater’s Bird Sanctuary).

“It was wonderful to get that recognition,” says Michelle.

Particle Puns


Creative Commons Logo

Republishing our content

We want our stories to be shared and seen by as many people as possible.

Therefore, unless it says otherwise, copyright on the stories on Particle belongs to Scitech and they are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This allows you to republish our articles online or in print for free. You just need to credit us and link to us, and you can’t edit our material or sell it separately.

Using the ‘republish’ button on our website is the easiest way to meet our guidelines.


You cannot edit the article.

When republishing, you have to credit our authors, ideally in the byline. You have to credit Particle with a link back to the original publication on Particle.

If you’re republishing online, you must use our pageview counter, link to us and include links from our story. Our page view counter is a small pixel-ping (invisible to the eye) that allows us to know when our content is republished. It’s a condition of our guidelines that you include our counter. If you use the ‘republish’ then you’ll capture our page counter.

If you’re republishing in print, please email us to let us so we know about it (we get very proud to see our work republished) and you must include the Particle logo next to the credits. Download logo here.

If you wish to republish all our stories, please contact us directly to discuss this opportunity.


Most of the images used on Particle are copyright of the photographer who made them.

It is your responsibility to confirm that you’re licensed to republish images in our articles.


All Particle videos can be accessed through YouTube under the Standard YouTube Licence.

The Standard YouTube licence

  1. This licence is ‘All Rights Reserved’, granting provisions for YouTube to display the content, and YouTube’s visitors to stream the content. This means that the content may be streamed from YouTube but specifically forbids downloading, adaptation, and redistribution, except where otherwise licensed. When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can check this by clicking on Advanced Settings and looking at the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’.
  2. When a user is uploading a video he has license options that he can choose from. The first option is “standard YouTube License” which means that you grant the broadcasting rights to YouTube. This essentially means that your video can only be accessed from YouTube for watching purpose and cannot be reproduced or distributed in any other form without your consent.


For more information about using our content, email us:

Copy this HTML into your CMS
Press Ctrl+C to copy

We've got chemistry. Want something physical?