We live in an age where everybody takes selfies. Why shouldn’t wild animals look their best in these snapshots?
Camera traps have been used for some time and are more and more popular, especially in the fields of biology and ecology.
Scientists utilize these special photo devices to capture how wild animals, especially rare ones, live and behave in their natural habitats.
Researcher Alexandra Swanson recently launched a project called the Snapshot Serengeti.
The project involved placing hundreds of camera traps that are motion and heat sensitive in an African savanna to see how the wildlife species live and behave in their natural environment, day and night.
The photos had to be identified by a very big group of researchers because the camera traps took photos of more than 40 species of wild animals.
Because there were too many photos, the scientists asked more than 270,000 volunteers to examine the pictures taken from 2010 to 2013.
Most of the photos uploaded on the Snapshot Serengeti official website were taken by cameras hidden in trees.
When clicking on them in successive and quick motions, one will be making an instant GIF, and the animals come to life.
For an easier navigation through thousands of pictures, the users can use hashtags in order to find the wild animals they want to see first.
For example, if a user wants to see photos of butterflies he or she needs to use #butterfly and the Snapshot Serengeti site will generate all the photos of butterflies captured by the camera traps.
There are many categories, mostly of species of wild animals, but there is a category of “humans” as well.
This happened because some people, mostly tourists, happened to be where the cameras were placed and had themselves a “wild” selfie.
But most of the photos are of wild animals that live in the African savanna.
There are many pictures of elephants, lions, zebras and other wild species. Some of the animals were captured while resting in the beautiful African sunset, while others are photographed while capturing and devouring their prey.
With this project, the biologists wanted to capture the unknown lives of the wild animals.
Swanson said that they asked volunteers to help because people are very good at recognizing patterns. This way they could participate in important ecologic studies.
Swanson was very pleased by the success of the Snapshot Serengeti project saying that:
“We can engage people with no scientific background to help in producing publishable scientific research at a scope and scale that would otherwise have been impossible.”
Image Source: stateschronicle