NatureSpy updates from lockdown and beyond…

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Well… this is all a bit mad. The world has obviously changed quite a bit in the last 6-7 months due to you-know-what, and we thought we’d give a quick update on what that has meant for NatureSpy – both for our customers and the projects we run and partners we work with.

Our priority has always been on the safety of our staff and volunteers from the very beginning and reducing the risks of any transmission. Finally, our thoughts are with all those impacted by the virus.

So – a quick look at how the two areas of NatureSpy have managed during the last 6-7 months – our online shop and the projects we run, including some amazing images and clips from the cameras.

Online shop

The NatureSpy Shop was one of the first places we saw the impact of the lockdown. Initially, that meant fewer orders and enquiries than we’d normally expect. That lasted about 4 days.

Then, everything exploded. It turns out that when most of the population is stuck at home, wildlife-watching is a hobby that a lot of people wanted to do more of in a short space of time. We saw orders and enquiries go through the roof.

Thats obviously great in many ways and we are very aware many organisations and businesses weren’t so fortunate. It also means we can better support our projects and partners. However we were also trying to keep the same level of extremely high service as well as having orders be dispatched and delivered as fast, and as safely, as possible.

With all staff (other than warehouse staff who were able to socially distance whilst at work) now also working from home, that was a big challenge. Usually for busy periods we can predict and prepare, but we had no warning this time!

However, on the whole, we managed to persevere and deal with new enquiries, new orders and existing customer’s support enquiries quickly. It did mean we had to prioritise certain enquiries over others – for example existing support/warranty issues and shorter, straightforward enquiries rather than highly detailed and specific ones – if you didn’t get a reply, or got one a week or two after your email, we can only apologise. We really, genuinely did our very best and staff were working well beyond their usual hours, including weekends, to try and keep up.

Again, thank you to all that chose and continue to choose NatureSpy for their wildlife cameras and trail cameras; it really does allow us to directly support more conservation monitoring and work.

Our projects

We run and support a number of conservation projects globally, and as this was a global pandemic it meant they didn’t escape disruption…

UK

In the UK, our Yorkshire Pine Marten Support Programme, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Forestry England and NatureSpy, had to be mothballed. We have a project officer working 3 days a week and a large number of volunteers involved in keeping camera traps running and in rotation around over 125km² area.

To minimise risk and follow government guidelines this meant the trail cameras being left unbaited and unchecked as staff and volunteers were not only not able to work together but also not able to go to the sites.

The camera traps themselves remained hard at work out in the forests, diligently snapping away, and catching some great stuff – goshawks, fox cubs, roe deer kids and daylight badgers;

However as of 1st August, the project is slowly getting back to some kind of normal; at least with regards to monitoring.

Europe

Our main project in Europe is a partnership with Bioterra in Croatia, working mainly in Northern Velebit National Park and Biokovo Nature Park – monitoring wolves, lynx and bear as well as how animals use green bridges.

During lockdown, it meant that cameras were left longer but they can cope with that – it did mean a lot of data in one go coming back to us though; over 150 gigabytes! The bears are definitely waking up too…

In France, our partnership with OCS continued to monitor for wolf and lynx and we had some great clips back in June – this lynx was a particular highlight!

Africa

Our main partnership in Africa is with Shinganda Wildlife Wilderness, in Zambia. Fortunately, the Zambian bush is not full of people so the cameras there too have been busy, with some cool stuff coming back that we’re still looking through! A little taster below…

Captured in partnership with Shinganda Wildlife Wilderness, Zambia

Ecuador

A really exciting project is our recent link up with Rainforest Concern and their Neblina Reserve in Ecuador. We’ve provided camera traps to look out for Andean bears and try and gauge the population size. The researchers have sent some wonderful images back from the cloud rainforest, and already found more Andean bears than expected – important evidence to demonstrate why the area needs continued protection from logging and other threats.

So, getting back up to speed and more exciting projects and developments in the pipeline, all supported by the NatureSpy Shop!