BID-AF2015-0117-SMA. Making the zoology collection at the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe accessible through GBIF by end of 2017
Mammalian population numbers have been reducing due to a wide variety of factors i.e. human invasions into protected areas; over utilisation through both legal and illegal hunting, and conversion of habitats. However, historical populations and occurrences of these species has not been readily available and possibly use of the historical information that is locked in the museums has been neglected particularly due lack of knowledge of what resources are there or due to the formats in which they are available (analogue). Therefore, our goal was to make the mammalogy collection at the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe
accessible through GBIF by end of 2017. Availability of this data online would make it easier for individuals, who may not have direct access to the collection to have access.
Generally, the mammalogy department has a valuable historic record of mammal biodiversity from locations that are not only from Zimbabwe
but also from around the world, predominantly in Southern Africa. These records were not easily available as most were still in analogue format. Therefore, this project aimed to collate and digitize the biodiversity data from the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe
targeting 11 000 specimen records. The overall aim was to produce a checklist which could be used by the public, scientists, and policy makers, so that they integrate information in their research and into policy making processes.
The checklist dataset has therefore, been compiled and it includes some of the mammal species records that are found in our main mammalogy storeroom. 11 000 specimen records were digitised. From the 11 000 specimens 122 species and 23 families were generated and this is what our checklist provides. These species range from small-medium sized carnivores, rodents, primates, and bats.
Most of them were collected from Southern Africa, i.e. Zimbabwe
, South Africa
. However, the initial focus was to provide data from protected areas from Zimbabwe
, particularly Matopos National Park, however, in going through the collection it proved to be difficult to segregate Zimbabwe
from the rest of the countries during the inventory and digitisation. Therefore, we provide information that covers protected areas in the specified countries, though Zimbabwe
constitutes 54% of the 11000 dataset and about 400 specimens where from in or around Matopos.
The goal was to make the mammalogy collection at the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe accessible through GBIF by end of 2017. Availability of this data online would make it easier for researchers who may not have direct access to the collection. The overall aim being to increase the use of historical data particularly in conservation policies and frameworks.