Article published on Mon 21 Feb 2022 07.15 GMT
By Graeme Green
Conservationists are increasingly turning to AI as an innovative tech solution to tackle the biodiversity crisis and mitigate climate change.
GRI's Special Technical Advisor, Ian Hoad talked to The Guardian about how we are utilising AI to stop poaching in Kafue National Park.
The Connected Conservation Initiative, a collaboration between Game Rangers International, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and other partners, is using AI to enhance conventional anti-poaching efforts, creating a 19km-long virtual fence across Lake Itezhi-Tezhi. Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) thermal cameras record every boat crossing in and out of the park, day and night.
Installed in 2019, the cameras were monitored manually by rangers, who could then respond to signs of illegal activity. FLIR AI has now been trained to automatically detect boats entering the park, increasing effectiveness and reducing the need for constant manual surveillance. Waves and flying birds can also trigger alerts, so the AI is being taught to eliminate these false readings.
“There have long been insufficient resources to secure protected areas, and having people watch multiple cameras 24/7 doesn’t scale,” says Ian Hoad, special technical adviser at GRI. “AI can be a gamechanger, as it can monitor for illegal boat crossings and alert ranger teams immediately. The technology has enabled a handful of rangers to provide around-the-clock surveillance of a massive illegal entry point across Lake Itezhi-Tezhi.”
Read the full article on the Guardian website here.