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The Digital Life team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by evolutionary biologist Duncan Irschick and other colleagues released the world's first accurate, publicly available three-dimensional (3-D) model of the rare Southern white rhino in collaboration with Perth Zoo in Australia.
As Irschick explains, this particular rhino is not yet extinct, but rhinos in general are under extreme pressure around the world, are vulnerable to climate change and are often the targets of poaching. The Digital Life team traveled to the Perth Zoo to digitize the southern white rhino there, named Bakari, using a ring of cameras that photo-captured him in 3-D for release on September 22, World Rhino Day.
Appreciation - Collaboration - Irschick - Perth - Zoo
In appreciation of their collaboration, Irschick says, "The Perth Zoo shares our vision about how public outreach and the scientific data gained from this model can benefit society." The zoo plans to release a video of the rhino with Irschick talking about making the 3-D model.
For some conservationists and researchers, this kind of model is the first step in a series they can now take to reconstruct body composition and an animal's body condition in the field to begin to assess how healthy an animal is, Irschick says. "You can't just walk up to a rhino in the field, but using a variation of these methods in the field, one could recreate the body shapes of such animals. We believe it is a powerful tool with many applications beneficial to wildlife."
Project - Work - Irschick - Colleagues - Beastcam
This project follows other work by Irschick and colleagues, who have created several different "Beastcam," rigs that include hand-held and tripod-mounted instruments in a variety of sizes. The original Beastcam Array consists of 10 fixed arms, each of which can mount three cameras for a 30-camera array. Small animals placed in the center can be quickly and conveniently modeled in 3-D...
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