Zoological Society London

Peer-to-peer conservation

Visit Instant Wild

Instant Wild brings you live images from cameras around the world. What rare species will you find?

A flagship digital conservation platform

Instant Wild is an initiative empowering people to engage with vital conservation work, and our objective was to create a flagship digital conservation platform unique to ZSL that reconnects people with wildlife, while empowering them to take part in vital conservation work.

Attracting a wider audience

Instant Wild works through collecting camera trap images of amazing species from the field and sending them to the public in real-time. Users are asked to analyse the photo and identify animals from remote parts of the world, not only contributing to conservation but also showing them a glimpse into some of the world’s wildest places, such as Costa Rica and Kenya.

To attract a broader audience and keep the existing users coming back to find more animals, we took on the challenge of bringing Instant Wild to life through gamification.

Users can now earn badges or work towards being one of the daily Top Spotters and get shout outs for their hard work. They can also see exactly how many animals – including endangered ones - they have spotted and save favourite images to their profile.

A crucial element of Instant Wild is the camera system - a tool for monitoring animal population and movements. As an animal moves past one of the Instant Wild cameras, a motion sensor will trigger the camera, sending a photo to the app in real time for users to engage with. To prevent poachers from finding the animals and also protecting the wildlife, Instant Wild’s cameras remove any specific location information from the metadata of an image before it is even sent in.

Technical breakdown

Instant Wild presented a unique opportunity to create a multi-platform application with a single codebase. To accomplish this three core technologies were used to create a mobile first web, iOS and Android app.


At its core, Instant Wild uses React to power the interactive and intuitive application UI and Redux to manage the single application state tree and cache data served by PYBOSSA for a lightning fast user experience.  React Router was used to structure the views of the app, whilst other custom helper modules were created to compliment the overall app architecture.


Cordova was used to package the bundled React app into store-ready iOS and Android applications.  In order to extend the application’s web-based functionality, the React app was bundled with extra build params to pass on a native context and bind Cordova plugins to manage app linking and native sharing and social login functionality, falling back to default web behaviour in a web app context.  This was crucial to providing an extended API for the iOS and Android apps by enhancing the core web experience.


Working with Scifabric - the creators and maintainers of PYBOSSA - an app specific PYBOSSA installation was created to allow the React application to request and receive data in realtime.  The speed and consistency of the API was crucial to the success of Instant Wild and Catch worked alongside Sciafabric’s development team to help extend their API to accommodate all the amazing gamified and immersive features that makes Instant Wild a truly unique experience for users.

At time of writing there are 2.2M classifications. These have generated 6.5K correct identifications for different species of animals in the wild, thus contributing to conservation.

With an incredibly passionate and active community in place, Instant Wild has plans to grow in the near future and we plan to work with ZSL and the community to bring further improvements and brand new features in future releases.




correct identifications


unified platform

Start a conversation

0207 494 3554