Researchers get a “raven’s eye view” of Yellowstone.
Digital photography has changed the way most of us take pictures when we’re on vacation, and today it is also revolutionizing wildlife research. Observing wolves, bears, and other animals can be challenging because researchers do not want to get so close that they alter the animals’ natural behavior, and details are difficult to capture with the naked eye. But now Yellowstone is eliminating those challenges with a powerful, cutting-edge data collection method.
A Raven’s Eye View
For the past few years, Yellowstone biologists have been capturing close-up digital photographs of wildlife from an aircraft several hundred feet above the ground. They use high-powered Canon zoom lenses with image-stabilizing capabilities, which produce startlingly clear images.
For example, the aerial images have enabled wolf researchers to identify individual wolves in a pack, determine the presence and number of pups in a litter, and observe strategies that packs use to surround and kill prey. This technique has even identified mange affliction in a Yellowstone wolf.
In the process of photographing wildlife, the researchers have also taken some pretty stunning images of Yellowstone’s landscape, from an unusual perspective.
Canon, U.S.A. contributed the zoom lenses to Yellowstone Forever through the Eyes on Yellowstone program.
Here are a few of the many images Yellowstone biologists have captured from above:
All photographs courtesy of the National Park Service.