Zebras may look like walking barcodes, but these wild animals are actually tough to track. In order to identify one zebra from the next, scientists often shoot tranquilizer darts into a zebra’s skin rendering a zebra unconscious for a short amount of time. This tactic has worked for years, but it can result in danger for both zebras and humans. Recently, a team of scientists from the University of Chicago found another way to track zebras involving GPS tracking technology.
By taking photographs of zebras, the “Stripe Spotter” can scan each photograph, and distinctly differentiate one zebra from the next. In addition, scientists can determine the exact location where each photograph was taken thanks to GPS technology. This GPS photo identifying technology is similar to the technology that tags any photo you snap with a digital camera or cell phone.
Instead of listing the location of your vacation photos or finding a lost camera based upon GPS information, University of Chicago scientists are using GPS information to identify and track zebras. Scientists now know more about migration patterns, reasons why zebras may become targets for other animals, and how zebras like to live.
The Stripe Spotter is a breakthrough within the wildlife tracking world. As one lead scientist puts it “…it no longer takes two or three days to do the analysis for a single day’s work, just a couple of hours.” These hours make all the difference in the world when it comes to staying in touch with wild zebras.
Article Written by Harriette Halepis