System for Elephant Ear-pattern Knowledge

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The System for Elephant Ear-pattern Knowledge (SEEK) is a method developed by Elephants Alive to identify individual African elephants1. It has been developed over the course of almost 25 years.[1]

The SEEK system allows for rapid individual identification of savannah elephants with reduced observer bias using basic software.[1] It also accommodates missing information or changes in identification features over time.[1] This system uses manual attribute labels such as sex and the presence/absence of tusks to improve the accuracy and efficiency of re-identification.[2]

This method is particularly useful for mark-resighting studies, which can provide valuable insights but depend on the individual identification of numerous elephants within populations across both Africa and Asia.[1] Most photographic elephant identification studies are still reliant on human memory and manual matching of known individuals[1]. The SEEK system addresses these challenges, making the process less labour intensive and less dependent on experiential skills that need to be developed over time by researchers.[1]

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