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Biometrics for animals
La reconnaissance des animaux

Some recognition systems specifically designed for animals!

Penguin Recognition project

(since 2004) Spot the penguins / Bristol university / Penguin-Recognition Software

Robben Island is home to roughly 20,000 African penguins, a threatened species that has declined by 90 percent in the past century. Software picks up the penguins' fingerprint-like patterns of black and white feathers, and uses these patterns to identify individual animals.

Penguins Recognition Software

Fisher footprints

(2007) Using Patterns in Track-Plate Footprints to Identify Individual Fishers Herzog & als.

Track plates capture fine detail in the footprints of fishers (Martes pennanti), recording rows of dots corresponding to tiny papillae on the animal’s metacarpal pad. We show that the pattern of these dots can be used to identify individual fishers, similar to human fingerprints..

Martes pennanti (fisher) fisher footprint

Zebra stripes

(2002) Individual Zebra Identification / Hans Krijger. Mainly based on binarization and skeletonization.


Conservation Research

stripe patterns of Grevy's zebra

Conservation Research

Cattle noseprint

Not automated, but well, noseprint can be used for identification (image from Identification of Beef Animals)

(1975) Solis and Maala, from the University of the Philippines, were the first to characterize the nose printing process in 1975. They realized that identification methods such as branding, tattooing, ear tagging, and ear notching were flawed in that the identifier could be replicated, replaced, or modified, and thus they chose muzzle printing as an alternative. Their findings concluded that nose prints were unique among animals, and the process was a suitable method for identification (Solis & Maala, 1975).

cattle nose printing
  • An Evaluation of Retinal Imaging Technology for 4-H Beef and Sheep Identification: The study evaluated retinal imaging technology as a means of permanent identification of 4-H beef and sheep. The OptiReader» Device was used to capture digital images of 491 beef and 220 sheep during 4-H enrollment. A total of 317 beef and 159 sheep were re-imaged. The on-site visual verification rate was 96.2% for beef and 100% for sheep. A visual verification exercise showed that individuals could identify a pair of retinal images as a match 98.6 % of the time for beef. Retinal imaging is a viable method for enrolling beef and sheep.
  • (1921) The identification of bovine by means of nose-prints / Petersen.
  • Cow noseprint

    Conservation Research Ldt

    Tiger stripes

    (2009 Mar)Conservation Research Ldt has developped a software that allows tiger researchers to rapidly identify individual animals by creating a three-dimensional model using photos taken by remote cameras.

    Conservation Research

    Cheetah spot pattern

    cheetah spot pattern analysis

    Conservation Research

    Whale Shark pelage pattern

    pelage pattern of whale shark

    Conservation Research

    Harbour Seal pelage pattern

    pelage pattern of harbour seal

    Conservation Research

    Salamander dorsale surface

    dorsal surface of salamanders

    On Recognizing Individual Salamanders (S.Ravela / MIT)

    Conservation Research

    Chital spot pattern

    spot pattern of chital

    Conservation Research

    Sand Lizard

    dorsale surface of sans lizard

    Conservation Research

    Crested Newt

    ventral surface of crested newt

    Conservation Research


    stripe patternof crested newt

    Conservation Research

    Great White Shark

    (2010) Computer scientists from the University of Bristol are collaborating with international shark researchers to build a visual biometrics database of Great White Sharks.

    White Shark Trust website see research -> photographic identification

    Great White Shark

  • See also Biometric Animals from Manfred Bromba.

  • Biometrics visitors