article / 17 July 2023

2016 #Tech4Wildlife Recap: Robot Cheetah and Film Camera Trap Launched Our First Photo Challenge 

To celebrate the start of our 2023 #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge on July 24th, we’re jumping back in time this week to relive past challenges and see how far we’ve come in conservation tech.

When we launched our #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge in 2016, we never imagined how much it would grow over the years, how many community members would share their photos and stories with us, and how technology would change! 

To celebrate our upcoming 8th annual #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge, beginning July 24th, we're highlighting our past challenges and showcasing some of our favorite entries and stories shared by WILDLABS community members throughout the years. Let's begin with 2016, the first time we asked all of you how you're using #Tech4Wildlife around the world.

While our community was just getting started in 2016 and our very first photo challenge only lasted one day, we got memorable #Tech4Wildlife moments from it like the famous Robo Cheetah (and its sibling, the Robo Monkey) used to study wildlife behavior, along with real cheetahs, wild African dogs, and quolls sporting biologging gear.

A remote controlled robotic cheetah puppet, by Blair Costelloe
The robotic cheetah was used to study gazelle antipredator responses, by Blair Costelloe
A cheetah tracked with a GPS collar, by by Dani Rabaiotti
An experimental control in the Robot Cheetah project - a robotic monkey, by Blair Costelloe
Quoll wearing a GPS collar, by Stephanie O'Donnell
Wild African dogs tracked by GPS collars, by Dani Rabaiotti
Activity sensors collecting data on wild dog behavior at higher temperatures, by Dani Rabaiotti

Ever since 2016, camera traps have been a #Tech4wildlife Photo Challenge staple, and amongst our community working with wildlife around the world- to this day, our Camera Traps group is the second most popular group on WILDLABS. 

In our first challenge, along with a sampling of curious critters inspecting these tools up-close, we were also treated to a true throwback from camera trap expert Marcella Kelly, who shared pictures from camera traps that used film!

A marbled cat inspects a camera trap, by Fauna & Flora International
A tapir captured on film by a film Cam Trakker camera, by Marcella Kelly
Leopard caught on a film camera in Belize in 2001, by Marcella Kelly

Since our first #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge, your entries have reached over 1.5 million people, been featured in the New York Times, and highlighted the incredible story of how our community - and the technology you use - has evolved over the years. 

Check back all this week for more highlights from past #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenges. Read the full announcement here to find out how you can participate this year:

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