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National Science Foundation
Special Report
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The Secret Lives of Wild
Animals — Home
Introduction
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Ocelot & Agouti
Dragonfly
Zebra
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The Secret Lives of Wild Animals


Introduction
The National Science Foundation supports many projects to develop new technologies and equipment to observe and track animals in real-time in their natural environments—even as the beasts remain completely undisturbed by the inquisitive scientist. Multidisciplinary teams of biologists, computer scientists and engineers are designing innovative tracking and information-management systems to learn exactly how animals spend their minutes, days and years negotiating within an ecosystem for food and mates, to survive predators, or to adapt to human encroachment.

Scientists call this area of research ‘landscape ecology,’ because it looks at the complex web of relationships among plants and animals, the land, & increasingly, humans as the world population surpasses well over 6 billion people who crowd not only each other, but also Earth’s wildest terrain. Knowledge gained from these studies provides wildlife managers, land developers, city planners and communities with valuable information about options for creating and maintaining a healthy, sustainable environment.

Image:
NSF-supported scientists, including Princeton University’s Jamie Mandel, are developing new technologies to unobtrusively follow the movements of wild animals.
Credit:
Christian Ziegler, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute