From a lazy-eyed-looking elephant to a cheeky grinning deer, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has released a gallery of “animal selfies” for World Selfie Day meant to bring a smile to your own self(ie).
The images were taken over the last four years at camera traps established in Africa as part of the ZSL Instant Wild app, which uploads images and live videos of animals from partnering wildlife conservations around the world and makes them available to global audiences through a smartphone app and online. Users can identify the animals before the information is sent back to researchers in the field, helping to lend valuable insight into the protection of endangered and vulnerable species across the planet.
“These are just a few of the amazing pictures of animals in the wild that people at home have been identifying through the Instant Wild app – supporting vital conservation work across the globe,” said Anthony Dancer, ZSL monitoring and technology manager, in a statement sent to IFLScience.
“During lockdown we saw an incredible surge in visitors to the app – a 200 percent increase in fact – with people keen to keep busy and help wildlife. We're so pleased we’ve been able to connect people with nature during these difficult times and are grateful for their contribution to conservation.”
Established cameras are triggered by movement to capture animals in the wild and have helped contribute towards fascinating discoveries in recent years, but vast amounts of data can overwhelm scientists. Volunteers work in their own time to identify animals and virtually tag the data for scientists, which has assisted in everything from determining animal population sizes to prosecuting wildlife crimes. First launched in 2011, the program now has more than 6,000 users that have made over 3 million identifications.
This round of animal “selfies” was captured at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy located in Kenya. The nonprofit is home to a number of iconic and vulnerable species, including the critically endangered black rhino that inspired the launch of the 93,000-acre park.