iPhone users can help track endangered tortoises with the new Mojave Desert Tortoise app.
Citizen scientists that visit the Mojave Desert, which runs through California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, can use the app to snap photos of any desert tortoise that crawls across their path, Scientific American reports. The app then tags the photo with the user's location, taken from the phone's GPS, and submits the photo to the Mojave Desert Ecosystem Program and Desert Managers Group. Researchers there will use the reports to monitor the endangered turtles.
Didn't find any turtles? The app also has information about the Mojave desert tortoise, including rules for interacting with them (Don't touch!).
The turtle that the app is name after (Gopherus agassizii) is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Since the 1980s, the turtles' numbers dropped up to 90 percent due to urbanization and predation by ravens and coyotes.Endangered Madagascar Turtles Still Caught Despite Ban