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Five Golden Plovers . . . Happy Holidays!

Five Golden Plovers

In the spirit of working on stuff that matters, our holiday card this year brings a sweet focus to the threatened species we’re trying to help. Featuring music from Radar contributor Nat Torkington and animation from designer Suzy Wivott, our “Twelve Days of Christmas” highlights a dozen animals that have the distinction of gracing O’Reilly covers and being on an endangered list. We want to celebrate them and our Animals Project this holiday season as being among the many things we’re so very grateful for.

Among our marks of gratitude is that O’Reilly is not alone.

Both Microsoft and Google have recently announced conservation/endangered species projects that they’re either funding or actively working on. The tech community is paying more attention to issues around endangered species—including poaching, habitat destruction, and human-animal conflicts.

The Snapshot Seregenti project lets you categorize the animals seen.

And as technology evolves, so do our opportunities to get engaged. A new project that has us currently interested is Snapshot Serengeti. Hosting “camera traps” throughout Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, the Snapshot project randomly captures species going about their daily rounds, using crowdsourcing to identify the animals as they go.

Operated by the University of Minnesota as an arm of its Serengeti Lion Project, Snapshot seeks to understand, its website explains, “how an entire community of large animals interacts.” Some 30 species are regularly studied, with an emphasis on their interactions with the 24 lion prides currently in park residence. It may surprise some, but we’re still parsing such questions as how carnivores coexist and the complexities of predator/prey relationships. This project helps with that.

We’d love to know what you’re interested in right now, projects that you support and think that others should know about, or ideas you might have for outreach of your own. That’s one of the nice things about the holidays, isn’t it? We tend to loosen up a bit more and share. Plus there’s the odd day or two without the daily grind, when there might be time to dig into a new collaboration on an ongoing problem. And yes, that’s a hint.

In the interim, here’s another look at O’Reilly’s 2012 holiday card. We hope it leaves you humming.

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