Many of you will no doubt remember Tara Pirie, one of the ponytail gang of LIVE safari presenters.
She is currently doing leopard research for her PhD at Thaba Tholo in conjunction with Ingwe Leopard Research, a project Will Fox is also closely involved with. (For more info click here.) Of course we have all stayed in touch since the LIVE safaris ended. From various fireside and other chats an idea has grown about how WildEarth’s experience with LIVE content broadcasting can be used to help research projects such as Tara is doing.
From those discussions the concept of bringing together our viewers, and other conservation-minded people, with research projects by creating a LIVE platform for camera traps was developed. In a nutshell the concept is to have camera traps send pictures to the WildEarth platform the minute they are taken, and to involve our audience in the evaluating of these images and in the identifying of the animal species in them. Even which individual it shows in the case of leopards! We know this is something many of you enjoy and are doing already, so why not expand on this to actually help the researchers? As, beyond it being a lot of fun to do, it will create awareness for the research projects as well as save the researchers lots of time they can then spend on other aspects of their projects.
To get this off the ground WildEarth will have to build desktop as well as mobile apps that will allow you and others to be notified of new images and to allow you to ID them anywhere and anytime. At the same time Tara and Ingwe Leopard Research need more camera traps to expand their research area. Therefore WildEarth and Ingwe Leopard Research have decided to team up to make this happen with Thaba Tholo being the first location where the new system will be rolled out.
Getting 20 additional camera traps and building the LIVE camera trapping platform does require quite a bit of cash though and in order to raise the required funds for this we have created a crowd funding project. If successful, this project, which will run until the end of December, will allow Tara to deploy 20 new camera traps that are equipped with the new LIVE system, and WildEarth to build the various apps needed for you to be able help the project by identifying animals in the pictures taken by those camera traps.
A lot more detail and a great video about this can be found on the IndieGogo project page, so please check this out and see if you can make a contribution towards helping us help the leopard. Either by contributing financially and/or by sharing the information wide and far with others who might be.
This will be awesome! I have made a small donation, and shared on my FB page…hopefully many will participate so we can all enjoy the future of animal viewing and ID'ing!