Is the future of zoos a move away from formal zoos? (via The Altantic)
Waldrappteam app users don't even need to visit the animals in person; they can see photos and read about the individual animals's personalities right there on the screen. (They can also submit their own photos and observations, which is what the institute is really hoping for with this project.) The head of the Waldrappteam, conservationist Johannes Fritz, told me that he thinks of the award-winning Animal Tracker app, developed by the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology, as the start of a new kind of zoo in which people can get to know animals in their own element.
All this got my head spinning. The Max Planck Institute of Ornithology now tracks 223 individual birds with the app, and ultimately plans to include "tens of thousands of individuals and dozens of species," including mammals, project coordinator Daniel Piechowski told me earlier this year. Since they already collect location data from thousands of research projects and hundreds of species in their MoveBank database, it's only a small thing to open that data to the public, giving everyday people live access to wildlife around the world.
Biologists are wiring up nature like never before with GPS trackers, live nest cams, camera traps, and other technologies. Scientists are even thinking about ways animals could talk through the Internet to us. We're not there yet, but when that happens, will people care to go to a zoo at all?