Being a wildlife researcher can occasionally mean going all 007 on a lion. In order to study animals without influencing their behavior, scientists sometimes employ the use of hidden cameras. These photographic traps allow conservationists to study wildlife in protected or remote areas, seeing what animals do when no humans are around.
A new website catalogues more than a million images from these camera traps for the public’s benefit. A total of 1.2 million sets of images taken by 225 cameras in Serengeti National Park are now online at Snapshot Serengeti, where more than 28,000 volunteers have begun cataloguing them and identifying the animals in the photos. (The process is described in an article in the journal Scientific Data.)
More than 40 different species appear in the images, taken between 2010 and 2013. Some of the animals were caught by the camera relaxing with their buds on the savannah:
Some of the images show animals caring for their young offspring:
Or curious kids on their own, like this zebra foal:
Some reveal carnivores with their kill:
Some photos capture animals on the move:
Or standing still:
A few times, the camera happened to catch a spectacular sunset:
And of course, there are butts. Science butts.
All images courtesy SnapshotSerengeti.