Instant Wild

Camera trap in Antartica

Instant Wild is a unique and multifaceted ZSL initiative which represents a major advancement in remote monitoring. Launched in 2011, it was set up as a citizen science tool enabling members of the public to instantly identify and comment on photographs taken by GSM-connected camera traps in the field through an interactive website and iPhone App. So far, the App has had over 100,000 downloads and participants have initiated over 1 million image identifications, providing ZSL with valuable research data and facilitating public engagement in conservation.    

To enable instant image transmission from virtually anywhere on earth, ZSL turned its hand to developing its own Instant Wild cameras which use satellite connectivity for real time data collection and transmission from the most remote places. Through working with key industry partners, ZSL has developed Instant Wild into an advanced remote surveillance and wildlife monitoring system for use in terrestrial and marine environments.

With advanced camouflaging, integrated seismic and magnetic sensors and human recognition software in development, Instant Wild has huge potential as an anti-poaching and wildlife monitoring tool. ZSL is working closely with Kenya Wildlife Service to trial this technology in Tsavo National Park for enforcement purposes and has successfully deployed three Instant wild cameras in Antarctica for penguin colony monitoring.

Key achievements and goals


  • Transmit live photographs of wildlife from advanced camera traps set up across the globe to protected area managers, conservation organisations and, where appropriate, members of the public.
  • Remotely observe and monitor trends in wildlife populations and identify the presence of critically endangered species to better prioritise conservation action and attention.
  • Engage new audiences in conservation through participatory citizen science.


  • Developed the first ever citizen science initiative which enables members of the public to identify and comment on live photographs taken by remote camera traps.
  • Developed the first ever satellite-enabled camera trap which can collect and transmit real time data from anywhere in the world.


Instant Wild logo

Instant Wild

Download the Instant Wild iPhone application and help us identify images picked up by our network of camera traps

Project information

Key species

Anti-poaching: Rhino, elephant, tiger

People involved

  • Jamie McCallum, Senior Programme Advisor
  • Olivia Needham, Technical Specialist
  • Alasdair Davies, Technical Specialist
  • Louise Hartley, Project Coordinator


  • Iridium
  • Cambridge Consultants
  • Kenya Wildlife Service


  • Google