Artificial Intelligence: Cameras Powered By AI Help Save Elephants
NGO RESOLVE innovates tiny cameras that use computer vision and AI to warn of an elephant attack.
RESOLVE is a Washington, DC-based NGO that seeks sustainable solutions to critical environmental, social, and health, challenges. It has partnered with AI software company CVEDIA to develop WildEyes AI, a camera-based solution to detect elephants and alert wildlife managers and communities. These warnings would prevent conflict situations between elephants and human settlements before they occur. (CSR Wire)
Elephant – human conflict
According to figures from WWF, over the past century, Asian elephants have declined in number from 100,000 to an estimated 35,000 – 50,000. Meanwhile, the population of elephants in Africa has fallen to 470,000 – 690,000 from 3 million – 5 million during the same period.
Human-Elephant Conflict is the major cause of such a decimation of elephant populations. Deforestation and climatic changes have reduced elephants’ natural territories, forcing them to raid human settlements and crops. These raids are often fatal for human beings and a threat to their livelihoods and food security.
Often villages have to look out guards to warn against such rogue elephant attacks. This practice can be hazardous and unhealthy.
Instead, RESOLVE’s WildEyes AI solution is a more efficient and safe solution for the detection of elephants.
The WildEyes system comprises small cameras that are concealed remotely. The cameras have inbuilt technology for motion sensing, computer vision, and artificial intelligence.
On the approach of an animal, the camera’s motion sensors are triggered. It then uses computer vision to analyze whether the animal is one or more elephants. On detection, it sends off the images to the cell phones of the village guardians.
The cameras could utilize a GSM network, or a long-range radio link, where cellular connectivity is not available, to transmit the images.
“By filtering “on the edge” i.e., only transmitting true positives of elephants, the camera conserves vital battery life,” says RESOLVE. “Due to the VPU’s low power requirements, WildEyes AI can run for more than 1.5 years on a single charge of its small rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery—a game-changer for a field-based sensor.”
Other applications of WildEyes AI
WildEyes AI could also be used to manage elephant populations across Africa and Asia. Instead of time-consuming and resource-intensive methods such as radio-telemetry, field observations, and aerial surveys, wildlife conservationists could install a network of WildEyes cameras at strategic points within elephant home ranges.
Other potential uses include the detection of illegal logging trucks that steal trees from forests and the identification of invasive species.
The cameras can also flag the entry of poachers into wildlife reserves.
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