International conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) has released a gallery of ‘animal selfies’ to mark World Selfie Day (Sunday 21 June) – images of wild elephants, giraffes, baboons and zebras taken from its ground-breaking Instant Wild app.
The cameratrap snaps – taken over the past four years – feature giraffes craning their long necks to find the perfect angle, zebra herds gathering for group shots and a baboon mum showing off her newborn.
A ZSL citizen science initiative, the Instant Wild app uploads images of animals from ZSL partner conservation sites around the world for users to identify, before the info is sent back to conservationists on the ground to help with their research – ultimately helping to protect Critically Endangered wildlife including black rhinos and pangolins.
ZSL’s Monitoring and Technology Manager Anthony Dancer said: “These are just a few of the amazing pictures of animals in the wild that people at home have been identifying through the Instant Wild app – supporting vital conservation work across the globe.
“During lockdown we saw an incredible surge in visitors to the app – a 200% increase in fact – with people keen to keep busy and help wildlife. We’re so pleased we’ve been able to connect people with nature during these difficult times and are grateful for their contribution to conservation.”
Available both as a smartphone app and online at www.instantwild.zsl.org, Instant Wild uses ‘people power’ to scale up important local species monitoring work across the globe, which helps scientists and local communities to protect wildlife and secure a richer biodiversity for all.
A lack of funding – as a result of the current pandemic – has put ZSL’s world-leading expertise in science and conservation in serious jeopardy: the international conservation charity’s work is only possible because of funds raised through their two zoos, London and Whipsnade, both of which are now open again to the public but operating at a much reduced capacity to ensure social distancing.
ZSL needs urgent support to keep its two zoos open, its scientists investigating wildlife diseases such as Covid-19, and its conservationists working in the field to protect threatened species. The charity is calling on the public to help ensure it stays in operation by booking a ticket to one of its two zoos, joining as a ZSL member or fellow, or donating at www.zsl.org/donate