How naturalists study wildlife and the equipment that they use has changed drastically over the years. Mark Lawley explores the influences that have altered the study of the natural world and the potential impact of these changes on species conservation.
The disinterested, scientific study of wildlife first gathered momentum in the 17th century. Documentation of the natural world has continued unceasingly since then, but the ways in which naturalists pursue their interests have altered significantly. Some of these changes are undoubtedly for the better; for example, no one will deny the advantages conferred on ornithologists by the use of binoculars.