Wildwatch Kenya: Safari Surprise

Being a citizen scientist has never been more fun and rewarding since I discovered San Diego Zoo Global’s conservation project called Wildwatch Kenya. I am one of over 7,100 volunteers clicking through, counting, and classifying wildlife in thousands of field photos collected from motion-detecting cameras set up throughout two conservancies in northern Kenya. Over 240,000 photos have been reviewed, but we need more volunteers to help us reach our goal of one million field photos. Researchers will use our findings to help find ways to conserve reticulated giraffes, which have declined by about 70-percent over the past 20 years. It is gratifying to know that my efforts will ultimately help guide conservation strategies in Kenya!

While there are some “Nothing Here” images, there is also a dazzling display of candid glimpses of wildlife prancing, leaping, sauntering, resting, munching, and posing in the frames. I’m surprised how nocturnal zebras are, nibbling their way across the landscape unfettered by potential predators. It’s amazing to run across a creature that I have never seen in real life, like an aardwolf taking a stealthy 2 a.m. stroll.

Invite your friends and family to join the Wildwatch Kenya volunteer team. Log onto the website, watch a quick tutorial, then start helping review the field photos. Findings will be shared on World Giraffe Day, June 21, 2018. There’s no telling what you’ll discover, but there are countless good reasons to jump in and help classify the Wildwatch Kenya photos, and here are just a few of my favorites:

Counting giraffes and other wildlife is urgently needed! Log onto wildwatchkenya.org to help.


Nothing foul about these guinea fowl out for a stroll.


Gerenuks are elegant hoofed animals that nibble on leaves.


Imagine seeing this mongoose family cruising by!


This aardwolf is not sure it is ready for its close up.


Nothing gets a citizen scientist’s blood pounding like a herd of elephants passing through!


A glimpse of two species together, like this jackal and impala, is always exciting.


Sometimes stripes and spots DO go together.


Of course, people share the landscape, too.


Even the “Nothing Here” photos can be breathtaking.

Come join the Wildwatch Kenya project, and discover some wonders of your own!

Karyl Carmignani is a staff writer for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous blog, Forest Bathing at the Zoo.