Where the Wild Things Were: an online interactive and accessible atlas of charismatic animal losses from the Pleistocene to today
I will demonstrate a live overview of Where the Wild Things Were's entry on US jaguars (Panthera onca) — including occurrences in well-known places at surprising dates (e.g., jaguars near San Francisco in 1826), multimedia resources associated with occurrences (e.g., images of jaguar-styled artifacts), and conservation information (e.g., a recent Conservation Science and Practice article on jaguar reintroduction).
Since the Pleistocene, over half of all large animals have become extinct — mostly through human population pressures and global warming that has transcended prehistoric, recent, and modern times. Highlighting these continuous but accelerating trends could promote awareness of the impending sixth mass extinction and its historic precedents. This in turn could promote engagement with paleontology and conservation to reverse species losses. My activity is a showcase of the pilot version of Where the Wild Things Were: an online interactive and accessible atlas of charismatic animal losses from the Pleistocene to today, hosted by the University of California Museum of Paleontology's website. This will be a live web demonstration highlighting geographic range contraction and (pre)historic multimedia points of interest for jaguars (Panthera onca) in the US. The outcomes of this activity are to highlight a novel resource for Earth educators looking to draw connections between paleontology and modern trends, especially as relevant for conservation. I also seek feedback to improve Where the Wild Things Were as a more effective Earth education resource.
I have been promoting this pilot version of Where the Wild Things Were through the University of California Museum of Paleontology's established social media channels to engage with some of the museum's 2 million monthly website visitors and others. My target audience is hence a general one, but I will follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to make this resource more accessible. I will also track user engagement via Google Analytics or a similar approach to better improve DEI efforts, all-in-all to expand paleontology education to a more diverse audience.
Why It Works
No other resource links late-Quaternary fauna from the Pleistocene to the present in an interactive online format. I plan for Where the Wild Things Were to be a free-of-charge, immersive, accessible, and inclusive atlas with high potential for paleontology outreach and educational material development.