The US wants you to track endangered wildlife with your phone

The next time you go fishing, make sure to bring your smartphone... it might just help you protect an endangered species. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is partnering with the developers of mobile app FishBrain to crowdsource conservation data. A new feature in the free software lets you catalog as many as 50 threatened species (aquatic or otherwise) during a trip, helping conservationists find out both where these critters live and why their populations are dropping. It seems paradoxical to ask anglers for help saving coastal life, but it makes sense when you think about it -- they're the most likely to see these rare animals, and they're often well aware that extinction has dire consequences. The big challenge will simply be getting enough people using the app to provide meaningful input.

[Image credit: AP Photo/John Flesher]