Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Mysterious black leopards finally reveal their spots

James Cook University scientists have helped invent a clever technique to tell black leopards apart -- a trick that may end up saving their skins.

Scientists from JCU in Australia and others have been studying the leopards on the Malay Peninsula -- where almost all of the big cats are jet black.

Experts have no idea why the leopards are black and, until recently, could not tell them apart, hindering research and conservation efforts.

But researchers have now devised a simple method to solve the problem by manipulating the mechanism of automatic cameras.

"Most automatic cameras have an infrared flash, but it's only activated at night," said Dr Gopalasamy Reuben Clements from JCU. "However, by blocking the camera's light sensor, we can fool the camera into thinking it's night even during the day, so it always flashes."

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