Wildlife Advocates Turn to AI to Prevent Killings of Animals

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Wildlife Advocates Turn to AI to Prevent Killings of Animals


Thanks to artificial intelligence a group of wildlife advocates has been able to better identify and catch poachers trying to kill animals such as hippos, wildebeest, gazelles and warthogs in Southern Kenya.

CNN reports that their initiative has led to dozens of arrests that would otherwise not have happened. The technology has been applied by the Mara Conservancy in Kenya, and their Chief Executive Brian Heath believes that expanding this technology throughout Africa could have significant improvements for their anti-poaching efforts.

“Our rangers now feel completely disadvantaged and blind without it,” Heath told CNN, following up with: “They get a huge amount of reassurance by having it and the ability to [better] see and identify people and animals.”

The famous World Wildlife Fund has partnered up with Heath and is now using the technology of a thermal imaging camera that applies AI to identify animals and poachers up to a kilometer away.

The camera is placed on top of Heath’s Range Rover, and through the video feed he can monitor the distant objects, and when poachers are spotted, rangers in SUVs are alerted and guided to the poachers.

Poachers killing animals illegally have been a huge problem, especially at the border between Tanzania and the Serengeti National Park, but after the implementing of AI the problem has been significantly reduced.

Heath reports that he has arrested tens of thousands of poachers since he started managing the Mara Conservancy 16 years ago, and approximately eight years ago, the poachers became harder to locate as they stopped using torch-lights.

This new solution is far more effective than other night vision solutions, and the World Wildlife Fund has also tested the technology this fall to identify poachers via drones in Zimbabwe and Malawi.

This article was first published at: http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/22/technology/africa-poaching-ai/index.html

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