A new program developed by university researchers identifies individual animals by scanning their stripes.
Stripespotter is a free, open-source system that can identify animals with prominent stripes or patches. It was created by researchers at the Computational Population Biology laboratory at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and the Equid Research and Conservation laboratory at Princeton University, New Jersey.
The program scans an area of distinctive markings on an individual animal and then assigns it a unique ‘stripecode’ for indexing. If that same animal is scanned in the future, data from the previous sighting will be loaded and information can be gathered on its development and migration patterns.
This holds great possibilities for researchers and conservationists, who will be able to identify and keep a database of animals in the wild simply by taking digital photographs of them. It is currently being used to build a zebra-print database for the Plains and Grevys species of zebra in Kenya.
[via Read Write Web]