AI to Bring the Next Wildlife Conservation Revolution

Face detectors, Bio-logger tags, and DNA analysis - welcome to the new language of wildlife conservation
AI to Bring the Next Wildlife Conservation Revolution
AI to Bring the Next Wildlife Conservation Revolution

The conversation around preserving the natural habitats and wildlife surrounding us is under frequent change. Technologies are being developed in a manner such that protecting, sheltering and working for the discovery and preservation of wildlife species becomes less time consuming, effortless and community-centric. The report by researchers at the Society of Conservation Biology suggests the development and implementation of conservation technologies will be hampered unless funding, coordination, and capacity-building issues are addressed. OT tracks what are the new proposals put forth on the table to bring about change in Wildlife protection with the ongoing challenges. 

Why Is AI Required In Wildlife Conservation

There have been techniques like camera traps, tracking tags, satellite remote sensing, acoustic sensors monitoring and drones to capture and encapsulate the activities in nature. However, most of these technologies come with their associated problems related to monitoring and sorting the huge amount of data.

Hence, the cloud-based platform Wildbook has been developed to identify species and individual animals based on their distinctive patterns, such as stripes, spots, or other distinguishing physical traits like scars or marks. The platform allows users to enter their findings of any wildlife species with pictures and location and keeps a continuous track of the same as well as connects fellow conservation enthusiasts, making the platform open to citizen scientists and researchers so that the database on discovery, living conditions and movement of each species can be generated over time. The platform started with just shark tracking and now inhibits over 53 species of marine and terrestrial creatures.

The abovementioned report also suggests that despite the obstacles, more than half of survey respondents consisting of conservation NGOs, universities or research institutions, private non technology institutions and government agencies, were more optimistic about conservation technology's future than they were a year ago. 

Tracking Wildlife With GPS, Bio-logging And Bio-telemetry

Another related research provided by Intechopen in the same arena discusses the possible levels of high accuracy in tracking and tracing animals using GPS systems. Bio-logging and bio-telemetry are two different ways of collecting data, but they both involve monitoring physiological, behavioural, or environmental data of species that are difficult to view or often impossible to reach.

Bio-logging technology records and saves the information in an animal-borne device (archival logger), and the information is downloaded once the logger is retrieved. Bio-telemetry sends the information to a receiver that is remote from the device carried by the animal.

Scientists can collect accurate movement patterns of an animal using GPS telemetry, which allows them to quantify the animal's location and distance from survey locations. Such technology has assisted in identifying the utilisation of unexpected habitats, exploring the social dynamics of reintroduced species, and revealing novel life-history traits of imperilled species, among other things. Animal-borne technology (also known as an animal-borne video and environmental data collecting systems, or AVEDs) collects high-resolution datasets that can be used to assess an animal's physiology, behaviour, demography, community interactions, and the environment in which it lives.

The use of new electronic tagging and remote sensing satellites, which give more precise and rapid environment sampling and greater resolutions of global views, has made the integration of environmental data with animal obtained data easier. New methodologies that combine the two technologies are transforming the ability to perform ecosystem-scale science and improving scientists' ability to investigate unresolved ecological concerns.

Protection From Animal Trafficking 

The need for AI is not only felt by data scientists, environmentalists and conversation activists. There is a major requirement from the Wildlife security services for the creation and adoption of new technologies which would benefit them in anti-poaching operations. The Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS) has been using past poaching records and geographic data to predict poachers' future behaviour and the integration of these technologies with the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) that is already in use by PAWS could generate a mapping of wildlife with such precision that the scope of PAWS to forecast other forms of environmental crime, such as illegal logging or fishing are broadened.

What Is Environmental DNA End Why Is It Entering The Chat

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is organismal DNA found in the natural world and is derived from cellular material lost by organisms into aquatic or terrestrial habitats (through the skin, faeces, etc.). Conservationists can acquire biodiversity data by extracting DNA from environmental samples such as water, soil, snow, or even air using the traces left by varied species. 

The study of eDNA began in microbiology, with the realisation that culture-based approaches vastly under-represent the microbial diversity seen in nature. The results of eDNA techniques have proven effective for monitoring contemporary biodiversity in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and have provided vital insights into the study of ancient habitats. 

It can also be used to investigate the effects of climate change, detect invisible hazards such as virus or bacteria, and measure the general health of an ecosystem, all of which can be used to argue for further protection for the area, rehabilitation of species if required and any form of restoration work.

Facial Recognizers - Initiated On Bears And Has Miles To Go

Camera trapping has been one of the most prominent ways of tracking the placement and movement of animals. However, entering the new era, are face recognition software may be used to identify and track brown bears using camera trap imagery, as well as inform conservation initiatives. Due to the lack of unique natural marks for certain species, camera traps are now unable to consistently detect individual bears and would further be used for any such similar species.

Bringing In The Community With Smart Parks And Wildlife Games 

Above and beyond all measures for wildlife conservation, the most important one still remains to be the spreading of awareness and education among people for the same. To do so, organisations like Smart Parks and Sensing Clues were reported by the hill to be emphasising the use of networked sensors to improve protected area monitoring and administration.

Because national telecommunications networks do not often extend to these protected areas, most national parks lack basic internet and cellular connectivity. Smart Parks uses a variety of sensors, such as gate sensors, alarm systems, and animal, vehicle, and people trackers, to provide low-power, long-range connectivity. The networked sensors monitor a wide range of data and can detect human intrusions, which can aid anti-poaching operations, as well as animal escapes from the protected area into the community, which could assist in avoiding human-wildlife conflict.

Along with it, researchers have developed a sense that games are the easiest way of disseminating information and roping the younger generations into any conversation. Hence, the focus on building games based on ecological conservation and the increase in the use of technology in wildlife protection is becoming more widespread as a result of catastrophic declines in biodiversity. Strategic targeting of technological development and community support, on the other hand, will increase the beneficial effects of these advancements.

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