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Ranty Islam | Ideas

Facebook of the forests

Put up a camera. Anywhere. You will be surprised by just how badly everyone wants to be on telly whenever they see a lens pointed at them. It’s why many kids think web cams are more important in a computer than a CPU, and also a reason why Big Brother revolutionized trash TV and Facebook made Mark Zuckerberg a Billionaire.

The urge to exhibit one’s private persona seems so deeply ingrained in the human psyche, that you begin to wonder if it’s an evolutionary trait also present in other species. And indeed it is. Forest animals love the camera.  The TEAM network has put up camera traps in forests across the globe to snap photos of  animal wild life. The experts of TEAM (or, more accurately and less sexy “Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring”) are now celebrating the 1 millionth photo taken.

TEAM makes the photos available to researchers and the public as “real-time” data to help track how biodiversity evolves.  And, of course, also to show how wild life is impacted by changes in their environment – be it deforestation or warming temperatures. The primates shown below are an example of the quite entertaining footage collected by the scientists:

The TEAM network still has some way to go: With a million plus photos they are way behind Facebook – that other network providing real time data on a not so different type of primate: you and me.



February 13, 2013



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