New 3D software to count tigers for conservation

March 13th, 2009 - 2:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, March 13 (ANI): A new software developed with help from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) will allow researchers to rapidly identify individual tigers by creating a three-dimensional (3D) model using photos taken by remote cameras, which would help in their conservation.

The new software, developed by Conservation Research Ltd., creates a 3D model from scanned photos using algorithms similar to fingerprint-matching software used by criminologists.

It may also help identify the origin of tigers from confiscated skins.

Researchers currently calculate tiger populations by painstakingly reviewing hundreds of photos of animals caught by camera traps and then matching their individual stripe patterns, which are unique to each animal.

Using a formula developed by renowned tiger expert Ullas Karanth of WCS, researchers accurately estimate local populations by how many times individual tigers are recaptured by the camera trap technique.

It is expected that the new software will allow researchers to rapidly identify animals, which in turn could speed up tiger conservation efforts.

This new software will make it much easier for conservationists to identify individual tigers and estimate populations, said Ullas Karanth, Senior Conservation Scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and one of the studys co-authors.

The fundamentals of tiger conservation are knowing how many tigers live in a study area before you can start to measure success, he added.

Researches were also able to use the software to identify the origin of confiscated tiger skins based on solely on photos. (ANI)

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