Snarl for the camera! An international team of scientists and software developers use facial recognition technology to identify individual grizzlies in the wild.
By Larry Powell An adult female grizzly (Ursus arctos). "BearID," as the program is called, captures a bear’s face in a photo image, rotates, extracts and embeds it in order to classify the individual. Facial recognition techniques have long been used to identify primates, including humans. But, up 'til now, there's really been no effective way of identifying wild species like the grizzly (brown) bear who, unlike the zebra or giraffe, lacks unique and consistent body markings. In co-operation with two US software developers, four scientists from the University of Victoria bought their idea to reality. They tested their system on grizzlies at two locations - Knight Inlet, BC, and Katmai National Park, Alaska. After taking thousands of pictures, they were able to positively identify 132 individuals with almost eighty-four percent accuracy. An adult female in another colour phase. All images by Melanie Clapham, U of Victoria, Canada. The technology enables