Smart camera keeps an eye on rare penguins
You may think penguins all look the same, but a computer system on a South African island knows better. It can identify individual birds from subtle differences in their plumage.
The technology could help researchers monitor threatened populations without using more invasive methods that can distress or harm the birds.
There were 1 million African penguins at the beginning of the 20th century, but that number has plummeted to around 170,000.
Studying the remaining penguins is important to conserve the population, but the usual practice of tagging flippers with metal bands can reduce breeding performance and human contact stresses penguins.
The camera can identify individuals from the unique black chest markings on each bird and is currently being tested on the 20,000 African penguins on Robben Island, South Africa.