WCS plans to use the Quickbird satellite technology in the near future to count wildlife in exotic locations, including elephants and giraffes in Tanzania, flamingos in South America, and elk, bison and antelope in Wyoming. WCS scientists will analyze those images as well to compare counts of wildlife living in other wild places.
"This experiment is another powerful example of how WCS can use its world-class zoos in New York City to help save wildlife living half a world away," said Richard L. Lattis, General Director of WCS' zoos and aquarium.
DigitalGlobe developed Quickbird to offer highly accurate, commercial high-resolution imagery of Earth. According to the company's Web site, "QuickBird's global collection of panchromatic and multispectral imagery is designed to support applications ranging from map publishing to land and asset management to insurance risk assessment." The satellite is able to geolocate features to within 23 meters (75.5 feet) and create maps in remote areas without the use of ground control points.
WCS, the Bronx Zoo's parent organization, currently operates more that 350 field conservation projects in 54 countries around the world. WCS's mission is to combine the resources of wildlife parks in New York with field projects around the globe to help sustain our planet's biological diversity. The project was funded in part by a grant from NASA in support of the Agency's mission to improve life here, extend life to there, and to find life beyond.