Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Identify Animals of the Serengeti on Snapshot Serengeti

Snapshot Serengeti is a new project from Zooniverse. The purpose of Snapshot Serengeti is to help researchers count and locate animals living in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. More than 200 remote camera traps have been placed in the park. The cameras are triggered by movement. Snapshot Serengeti hosts these pictures in the hope that people around the world will help to identify what has been captured in the images.

If you want to help identify animals on Snapshot Serengeti there is an excellent tutorial that walks you through the identification process. Even if you're not sure of the name of the animals that you're seeing you can identify them through the classification system that Snapshot Serengeti has in place. The classification system asks you to identify the type of skin, the pattern of the fur or skin of an animal, and the style of horns (if present) that an animal has. Based on those classifications Snapshot Serengeti will suggest a few animals that match what you're seeing.

Applications for Education
Having students try to identify animals on Snapshot Serengeti could be a great way for them to learn about the various animals that they see. Along the way students will also learn about the ways that these animals have adapted to their environments.

One thing to note about Snapshot Serengeti before you turn your students loose on it is that they may end up going through a lot of blank pictures that don't have any animals in them before they get to ones that do have animals in them. This is because remote cameras can sometimes be triggered by strong gusts of wind blowing something in front of them.