Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Photo album tells story of wildlife decline

Date:
August 31, 2010
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
With a simple click of the camera, wildlife conservation scientists have developed a new way to accurately monitor long-term trends in rare and vanishing species over large landscapes.

This is one of the 5,000 plus camera-trap images used to develop the Wildlife Picture Index, a new way to measure biodiversity across large landscapes.
Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society

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.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Photo album tells story of wildlife decline." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831121443.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2010, August 31). Photo album tells story of wildlife decline. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831121443.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Photo album tells story of wildlife decline." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831121443.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

AFP (Apr. 18, 2015) In the Himalayan town of Lukla, excitement mingles with fear as mountaineers make their way up to Everest a year after an avalanche killed 16 guides and triggered an unprecedented shut-down of the world&apos;s highest peak. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) "Water cops" in Los Angeles remind the public about water conservation methods amid California&apos;s prolonged drought. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

AFP (Apr. 17, 2015) Scientists gathered at a European Space Agency (ESA) facility outside Rome this week for the Planetary Defence Conference 2015 to discuss how to tackle the potential threat from asteroids hitting Earth. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Five years after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, splotches of oil still dot the seafloor and wads of tarry petroleum-smelling material hide in pockets in the marshes of Barataria Bay. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins