Photographing wild animal footprints
We need footprints from unknown wild animals to test our captive-derived algorithms. Please take care not to disturb animals in their natural habitat, and if possible always take an experienced local tracker with you if you are going to walk for any distance in terrain which is unknown to you.
1. Find a good fresh clear trail (unbroken series of footprints). We would like photographs of 10-15 left hind (LH) from the same trail (ie. same animal) If non-LHare good and available, please collect these also and label them.
2. Organising the footprint for photography. Choose the first print and place a cm ruler as the scale on bottom and left hand axis, in relation to direction of travel. Make sure ruler does not obscure detail at all. See examples given below.
3. A photo ID slip giving details of each footprint must be included in the photograph, or attached as a voice tag. This should contain the date and name of photographer and any information about the animal ID if known. ‘Footprint number’ refers to the number allocated to the footprint for that day’s work. Call the first LH print in the trail 1a, the second 1b, the third 1c etc. Footprints from a second trail will be 2a, 2b etc. If only occasional footprints are seen give each a different number. Indicate which foot, if known, under ‘Foot ID’.
4. Taking the digital photograph. Align yourself and camera lens directly overhead of the footprint, and fill the camera frame with the footprint, ruler and ID slip so that no space is wasted and the photo is filled with details of print. If possible, have a second person view you from the side to check that you are directly overhead, to avoid distortion of the image. Try to get the best possible light contrast – usually found early morning and later afternoon. Avoid casting shadow on the footprint.