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Wildlife Conservation: The Role of Data Science

The flightless kākāpō and takahē are among the rarest birds in the world, with just 200 kākāpō and about 450 takahē remaining. Yet their numbers are increasing, thanks to dedicated, long-running and science-driven conservation programmes. The kākāpō population has increased four times since intensive management begin in the mid-1990s, and the takahē population is increasing at 10% per year.

The conservation management of these iconic species, like many others, is becoming increasingly data-driven, with large datasets from diverse fields such as genomics, veterinary science, spatial tracking and remote monitoring of individual activity using radio data networks. The ability to easily interrogate and visualise these data is now vital to optimise on-the-ground conservation work to continue population growth.

Department of Conservation Kākāpō and Takahē Science Advisor Dr Andrew Digby has used Tableau to gain insights into the conservation data from these species and guide the recovery programmes. He will use these visualisations to demonstrate the science behind the conservation efforts, and to highlight the issues which still threaten these species with extinction.

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