FOR OUR TEAM IN KENYA, the digital camera represents not only an artistic instrument, but also an important tool for research. From these grids of pixels, we can extract critical information that help deepen our understanding of species like the endangered Grevy's zebra. Since each zebra possesses a unique stripe pattern, we use digital photographs of the stripes in association with pattern recognition software to effectively monitor the population size, demographic trends, and space use of these spectacular equids.
Fieldwork often favors a fast shutter finger over painstaking composition, so admittedly the vast majority of our photographs lack any tremendous sense of aesthetic appeal. Occasionally, however, the zebras make it easy to get the best of both worlds; combining our scientific missions with the more innate pursuits to appreciate beauty in the natural world.
Originally posted in the Wildlife Conservation Society PhotoBlog on July 2, 2014