“Wildlife Picture Index” can be used in savannahs and forests around the world, tracking long term population trends of large mammals and rare wildlife
Wildlife Conservation Society-led study has major implications for future monitoring of wildlife across broad landscapes
With a simple click of the camera, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Zoological Society of London have developed a new way to accurately monitor long-term trends in rare and vanishing species over large landscapes.
Called the “Wildlife Picture Index,” (WPI) the methodology collects images from remote “camera traps,” which automatically photograph anything that lopes, waddles, or slinks past. These virtual photo albums – sometimes containing thousands of photos of dozens of species – are then run through a statistical analysis to produce metrics for diversity and distribution of a broad range of wildlife.
Though camera traps are already used by conservationists to track individual species or to survey wildlife in small protected areas, this study marks the first time they have been used to scientifically measure long-term trends of multiple species on a landscape-wide scale.
The study appears in the August, 2010 issue of the journal Animal Conservation. Authors include: Tim O’Brien and Linda Krueger of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Jonathan Baille of the Zoological Society of London, and Melissa Cuke of the University of British Columbia.
The WPI was designed to meet the future needs of the Convention of Biological Diversity, (CBD) a treaty signed by 188 countries to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss.
“The Wildlife Picture Index is an effective tool in monitoring trends in wildlife diversity that previously could only be roughly estimated,” said the study’s lead author, Tim O’Brien of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “This new methodology will help conservationists determine where to focus their efforts to help stem the tide of biodiversity loss over broad landscapes.”
The authors used the WPI to track changes in wildlife diversity over a 10-year period in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in southwest Sumatra, Indonesia. The 1,377 square-mile park contains the last remaining tracts of protected lowland forest in Sumatra – important habitat for large mammals including Sumatran tigers, rhinoceros, and Asian elephants. It is also threatened by poaching, illegal logging, and agriculture.
After running the statistical analysis of some 5,450 images of 25 mammals and one terrestrial bird species photographed throughout the park, the Wildlife Picture Index showed a net decline of 36 percent of the park’s biodiversity. In addition, the analysis revealed that wildlife loss outpaced the rate of deforestation; and that large, commercially valuable wildlife such as tigers, rhinos, and elephants declined faster than small primates and deer, which are only hunted only as crop raiders or for subsistence.
The authors not only believe the WPI can be used to assess biodiversity in large ecosystems throughout the world, it can also help redefine how camera traps have been used for wildlife conservation.
“The Wildlife Picture Index will allow conservationists to accurately measure biodiversity in areas that previously have been either too expensive, or logistically prohibitive,” said John Robinson, WCS Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science. “We believe that this new methodology will be able to fill critical gaps in knowledge of wildlife diversity while providing much-needed baseline data to assess success or failure in places where we work.”
“We expect that the Wildlife Picture Index can be implemented and maintained as a relatively low cost per species monitored and provide important insights into the fate of rainforest and savannah biodiversity,” O’Brien said.
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit: www.wcs.org
Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation
Stephen Sautner | Newswise Science News
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy