Throughout 2016 innovative technology has enabled many of you at home to help our conservation work by identifying real-time pictures of real-life animals sent directly to you through our Instant Wild app.
To celebrate, we've pulled together the top 10 most liked images of wildlife that you have helped to identify this year.
Innovative technology can offer wildlife the helping hand it needs and is enabling us at home to take action and make an impact.
Over the past year alone, many of you have been directly helping ZSL's conservationists understand and protect animals by identifying photos of some of the planet's rarest and most threatened species through our Instant Wild app.
These images are delivered live to your phone or computer and come from motion-activated automated cameras, known as 'camera traps', set up by our conservationists in habitats around the world. These incredible images give you the opportunity to help us monitor and identify wildlife, as well as learning more about them from your living room or daily commute.
In 2016, this our camera trapts have spotted everything from families of elephants strolling through Kenya to solitary leopards looking for their next meal.
Here are the top 10 most liked images of Instant Wild:
As one of Africa's most iconic animals, this pair of giraffes at a watering hole has made it to number 10. The species tend to travel around in herds of up to 15 and will take turns to drink water and keep watch for predators such as lions. Unfortunately giraffe populations have plummeted by up to 40% in the last 30 years and they are now classified as 'Vulnerable to Extinction' on the IUCN Red List. The main threats to the species are habitat loss and illegal hunting.
Aardvarks are nocturnal creatures that spend a lot of their time using their long nose to forage for termites across forests and grasslands like in Lewa, Kenya where this one was caught on camera in January. Their name comes from the South Africa Afrikaans language meaning 'ground pig'.
Leopards are found throughout most of Africa and Asia, Russia, Korea, China, India, and Malaysia As demonstrated by this one spotted in Africa, they are solitary animals most of the time and only really come together to mate.
7. Mother and calf white rhino
These two were spotted together in Kenya, where you can find both black and white rhino. The major visible difference between the two is their mouths. The black rhino has a pointed mouth for picking fruit and leaves whereas you can seethat the white rhino has a flatter mouth for munching on grass. Rhino have an amazing sense of hearing and will rotate their ears in the direct of sound. Given the direction of the calf's ears, could it have heard our camera take this picture?
6. African elephant
Unlike Asian elephants, the African elephant's tusks can grow to enormous lengths of up to 7.5 meters. Unless they have been broken, an expert would be able to tell you the age of this elephant just by comparing the length of its tusks with elephants of the same sex and species. The ivory marked has placed a great price on these tusks and has meant they are being poached into extinction.
5. Close up of elephant family
A family of elephants clearly intrigued by our Instant Wild cameras.
Elephants will often spray mud on their face and bodies to keep them cool. Due to poaching for their ivory tusks these African giants are listed as 'Vulnerable' on the IUCN Red List.
The next leopard photograph to make it in to the top 10 comes from Africa and shows the leopard's colouring perfectly. The markings on its fur are known as a rosettes, due their rose-like shape, and help to blend them in with their dappled forest floors or grasslands. Their prey includes almost anything - even feasting on bugs!
3. Family of elephants
A family of four elephants drinking from a watering hole in Kenya is the third overall favourite image on Instant Wild in 2016. As well as hunting for their ivory tusks, habitat loss is a key threat for these elephants who roam in herds of up to 100 individuals. Elephants are known to form extremely strong bonds with eachother and even mourn the death of their loved ones.
Nocturnal animals, it is normal to see a leopard roaming around at night, like this fantastic shot demonstrates. They spend most of the daytime camouflaged in the trees or in caves.
1. Mother and calf white rhino
The word rhinoceros translates to 'nose horn' and the one belonging to this rhino mum is so enormous it almost distracts from her young calf sheltering under her chin. Unfortunately this huge horn would be a pricey commodity for poachers in Africa. Rhinos are all facing extinction due to illegal hunting for their horns and ZSL is helping to protect them against this major threat.
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