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CrocBITE receives funding boost

By Leanne Miles

CDU researcher Dr Adam Britton hopes to expand the capabilities of the CrocBITE database CDU researcher Dr Adam Britton hopes to expand the capabilities of the CrocBITE database

A world-wide database compiling information about crocodilian attacks has received a funding boost that will improve accessibility and help with future conservation efforts of the species.

Charles Darwin University researcher Dr Adam Britton developed the CrocBITE database with Californian-based student Brandon Sideleau in 2013. It is now in use by wildlife managers and researchers around the world to improve species management and help save human lives.

The Senior Research Associate at the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods has received more than $30, 000 in funding through an ESRC Impact Acceleration Award in collaboration with Imperial College London to further develop the CrocBITE site.

“When it launched there were around 1800 incidents registered on the database,” Dr Britton said. “One year later, we have around 2700 incidents recorded, including new attacks but also additional historical records for various countries. It is one of the largest databases on human-animal conflict available free of charge to anyone.”

Dr Britton is working with Dr Simon Pooley of Imperial College London to expand the usefulness of the database to provide more educational content and improve the analysis and presentation tools used to interpret the information.

“This funding will allow us to expand upon its usefulness and create interactive online tools that anyone can use to interpret the data, opening the door to simple discoveries being made by scientists and non-scientists alike that are relevant to their area,” he said.

Dr Britton said the expansion would assist the researchers to provide vital information on crocodile attack data and communicate lessons to improve safety around crocodiles worldwide.

“The goal of the project will be to better engage the public, local authorities, health workers and conservation managers to both contribute data and explore ways in which its lessons can be applied to saving lives,” he said.

“The aim will be to deliver these lessons to a wide audience, particularly in rural areas where the risk of crocodile attack is highest with the aim of improving awareness and mitigate risk of crocodile attack.”

Anyone can freely access the database, and members can contribute directly by setting up an account on the website and uploading information as a user, or by contacting the CrocBITE team via W: www.crocodile-attack.info

All information entered by registered users will go through an approval process by the CrocBITE monitoring team. 

The website was created by the team using a CDU Innovation grant in association with crocodilian research and consulting company Big Gecko. The project is entirely non-profit.