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This is Scientific American's 60-second Science, I'm Christopher Intagliata.
Tracking wildlife is a tough job. Take the case of a one-eared leopard named Pavarotti.
For this guy: "He was a very big beautiful male, and he had a very, very deep, deep roar, and so they named him after Pavarotti."
Kasim Rafiq, a wildlife biologist at Liverpool John Moores University.
"So I used to get up at the crack of dawn, follow his tracks and try and find him.
So one day, I went out, and I was looking for him.
And his tracks took me off road through this woodland area....and..."
Before he knew it, the wheel of his Land Rover was stuck in a warthog burrow.
He wasted several hours getting it out.
And then, on the way back to camp, he bumped into some local tour guides and their safari guests,
who'd had way better luck spotting Pavarotti.
"Basically, they laughed and they talked to me that they'd seen him that morning."
Rafiq then realized that tourist wildlife sightings might be an untapped source of information about wild animals.
So he and his team worked with a safari lodge in Botswana to analyze 25,000 tourist photographs of wildlife.
They used those as sightings of lions, spotted hyenas, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs.
They then compared those data to the estimates they made with traditional wildlife biology tactics:
stuff like camera traps, track surveys, and "call-in stations" ―
where they play sounds of distressed animals in the middle of the night and see who pops by.
It turned out that the estimates from tourist photos were just as good as those gleaned from traditional methods.
这里是科学美国人――60秒科学系列,我是克里斯托弗・因塔格里塔。
追踪野生动物是项艰巨的工作。以一只名为“帕瓦罗蒂”的独耳猎豹为例。
这就是“帕瓦罗蒂”:“它是只体型极为庞大而且非常美丽的雄性猎豹,它的吼叫声非常非常低沉,因此人们为其取名为‘帕瓦罗蒂'。”
利物浦约翰摩尔大学的野生动物生物学家卡西姆・拉菲克说到。
“我过去常在黎明时分起床,找到它的足迹,然后跟随足迹并试图找到它。
有一天我出门寻找它。
它的足迹将我带离道路,进入森林地区……”
不知怎的,拉菲克驾驶的路虎车的车轮卡在了疣猪洞穴里。
他花了好几个小时才把车轮弄出来。
之后,他在返回营地的路上遇到了几名当地导游和他们的观兽游客,
后者要幸运得多,他们看到了“帕瓦罗蒂”。
“他们笑着告诉我,他们那天早上看到它了。”
拉菲克随后意识到,游客野生动物观光可能是关于野生动物的一个尚未开发的信息来源。
因此,他和团队与博茨瓦纳一家狩猎旅社合作,分析了2.5万张游客拍摄的野生动物照片。
他们将这些照片作为人们对狮子、斑点鬣狗、豹子、猎豹和野狗的目击。
之后,他们将这些数据与他们用传统野生动物生活学方法做出的估计进行了比较,
这些方法包括相机陷阱、跟踪调查和“呼叫站”――
在那里,他们会在半夜播放痛苦动物的声音,看看谁会突然出现。
结果表明,从游客照片中得到的估计结果和从传统方法中得到的一样好。
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