Artificial Intelligence: AI Tracks Koalas Mating Calls To Help Protect The Species

Koalas are listed as threatened at both the New South Wales and the federal level in Australia.

In a groundbreaking initiative, artificial intelligence (AI) is aiding scientists in monitoring and safeguarding the iconic Australian koala population. A trial, employing smart sensors in New South Wales, harnesses AI technology to detect the distinct mating calls of male koalas. Activating upon hearing these guttural sounds, the sensors, fixed to trees, have been developed by the International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS) at Western Sydney University.

Ecologist Andrew Lothian, engaged in the trial, highlighted the challenges faced in tracking the cryptic and sparsely distributed koalas, listed as a threatened species at both state and federal levels. The AI technology, designed to recognize specific features emitted by male koalas, facilitates a more efficient surveying process. Traditional methods involving spotlights, scat identification, or recorders are labor-intensive, whereas the smart sensors significantly reduce post-processing time.

Developed by ICNS postdoctoral research fellow Saeed Afshar, the devices aim to guide conservation decisions regarding koala habitat and populations. By focusing on the targeted features of male koala calls, the technology minimizes false positives, providing a cost-effective and less intrusive alternative to existing survey techniques.

The trial’s success holds promising implications for expanding the application of AI-driven monitoring to other threatened species, enhancing conservation efforts beyond koalas to include creatures like large forest owls and gliders.

Related Story:  AI Detection System To Help Humans And Tigers Co-Exist

Photo by Jake Trotman on Unsplash

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