Search for Images

All images are described using English language captions and keywords and all have a unique 8 digit image identification number. To find what you are looking for, enter one or more keywords in the search query box at the top left of the page and click the 'Search' button. Note that keywords should always be in singular rather than plural form. You may also search by image number or photographer name.


Getting Specific Results

To search, enter a keyword in the search box and click the 'Search' button. This type of search will often display broad rather than specific search results. For example:

  • elephant
  • This search will display all images including the word elephant either in the caption or as a keyword including elephant seals, elephant shrews and elephant birds. For more specific results you should use additional keywords:

  • elephant two
  • This search will display subjects including two elephants, two elephant seals and two elephant bird eggs. The more keywords you use, the more specific the results will be. For example:

  • elephant two portrait male
  • For best results, you should use keywords describing species names, color, natural features, habitat, behavior or location. Note that typing successive keywords results in a so-called 'and' search displaying those images that include all search words within the caption or keyword list.


Advanced Search

Advanced search at the left of the search results page allows for more advanced searching techniques using boolean, phonetic, proximity and wildcard searches.

  • elephant and portrait
  • Displays images of elephant portraits as the "and" operator retrieves images with both keywords.

  • elephant and portrait and not seal
  • Displays images of elephant portraits but excludes elephant seals from the search result as the "not" operator excludes images of seals from the results.

  • (tiger or lion) and zoo
  • Displays images with keywords tiger and zoo as well as those with keywords lion and zoo. The "or" operator indicates that the search applies to images of either lions or tigers as opposed to images including both keywords lion and tiger. The parentheses clarify that the keyword zoo applies to either keyword within the parentheses rather than just the latter of the two keywords preceding it. Hence, tiger and zoo or lion and zoo, not tiger or lion and zoo.


Word Association and Proximity

Searches using two or more words result in images containing all specified keywords. To have the search engine treat the words as linked search words, you should surround them with quotes.

  • african elephant
  • Displays images with both the words african and elephant anywhere either in the caption or keywords.

  • "african elephant"
  • Displays images of african elephants but not images including both keywords independent of one another. For instance, an image of an Indian elephant at the Nairobi Zoo may include both the keywords african and elephant but would not be displayed as a result of a search for "african elephant".


Using Wildcards

Single character wildcards (?) and multiple character wildcards (*) may also be used in keyword searches. This is especially useful when unsure of spelling. Please note that wildcard searches may take somewhat longer to execute.

  • lion* and play*

    Displays images with keywords such as lion, lioness, lionfish, etc. and also such keywords as play, playful, playing, etc. In general this is a "starts with" search requesting the display of all images with keywords spelled beginning with the letters prior to the * wildcard.

  • *fly

    Displays images with such keywords as butterfly, mayfly, dragonfly or any other keyword ending with fly. In general this is an "ends with" search displaying any images with keywords ending with the letters following the * wildcard.

  • ba*g
  • Displays images with keywords spelled beginning with ba and ending with g with any number of letters in between such as balancing, bathing, barking, etc. In general, a search like this displays images with keywords starting and ending with specified characters.

  • d?g
  • Displays images with keywords beginning with d and ending with g and with a single letter separating them. Matching keywords might include dig, dug or dog.


Phonetic or "sounds like" Searches

Another wildcard-like search tool is the "like" operator which may be used to conduct phonetic searches. This is especially useful if you are uncertain of the spelling of a given keyword, or if for instance you search for a specific keyword and your search yields no matching images despite a strong suspicion that there should be matching images in the archive.

  • like camoflage
  • Displays images with any keyword sounding like the incorrectly spelled keyword camoflage including camouflage, camouflaged and camouflages. All keywords considered to be phonetic matches to camoflage will be listed at the top left of the search result page allowing you to identify and initiate a new search for only those images including the specific keyword for which you were looking.


Search Filters

  • Advanced Search
  • Filters for refining a search may be found in the Advanced Search Panel along the left side of the search result page. Here you may refine search results by orientation, file size, date added, photographer, species or location. For search results displaying thousands of images, you may want to select "Editors Choice" under Selection, which will narrow display to include only those images rated the highest quality. To apply a filter, simply tick the checkbox beside your selection. To clear a filter, you may untick the checkbox, click the filter displayed above the search results or click reset filters in the search panel.


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