Can you count the number of seals in this photo? Did you know that one person could easily identify all the seals in the picture with the click of a mouse? And what if there were 917 pictures of seals? In that case, additional help may be required. That’s why Parks Canada is reaching out to the citizen science community with a new science project based on a digital platform called Zooniverse.

The Sable Island National Park Reserve Grey Seal Count project is available on Zooniverse, the world’s largest platform for people-powered research. The research on Zooniverse is carried out by volunteers — more than one million people around the world assist professional researchers through Zooniverse projects. As of January 2021, there are 80 active projects on the platform, including this neat opportunity to shed a spotlight on the island and one of its habitants.

The Sable Island National Park Reserve Grey Seal Count project tests the use of aerial imagery to track the number of seals on the island during the non-breeding season, in summer. Knowing how many seals use Sable Island NPR as a haul-out site in the summer will help Fisheries and Ocean Canada and Parks Canada to better understand the foraging distribution and the ecological role of grey seals in the northwest Atlantic and on Sable Island.

Parks Canada is reaching out the public and a few regional schools to help count the seals. This is a great way to use today’s technology to assist science!

More information

For more information on this fun project, visit the Zooniverse Sable Island Grey Seal Count project.