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How AI is revolutionizing Wildlife Conservation

  • Ashesh Anand
  • Oct 07, 2021
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The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has dramatically changed wildlife conservation. AI assists researchers in determining the location of animals, the date of observation, migration patterns, and even the social group of an animal. 


Conservationists utilize AI to monitor and preserve animals in their natural habitat. In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of using artificial intelligence in wildlife conservation as well as some application examples.


Existing and traditional wildlife monitoring techniques and surveillance approaches are insufficient and inefficient. They are either physically impossible to climb or physically exhausting. 


However, with the recent development of various uses of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, conservation efforts are now much more thorough and efficient. With the development of cheaper, more efficient, and more powerful hardware, efforts to extend AI technology to the outermost reaches of the natural world have also risen dramatically. 


At a high level, AI is a method of teaching a computer to perform a task that humans would normally perform when given a huge dataset. The computer analyses the data and learns its patterns in order to forecast, categorize, or alter any following input. 


Fortunately, the use of technology to preserve animals and biodiversity provides a glimmer of hope. AI and Machine Learning applications have the potential to shift the field dynamics in favor of these endangered species.


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An Algorithm Appropriate for the Wild


AI can help us understand how animals repeat their behaviors, such as reproductive patterns, feeding routes, and hunting routines. Every animal shows the same fundamental behavior.


An algorithm suitable for wildlife monitoring must be trained on a vast amount of data, such as millions of pictures, noises, and routes. AI is extremely adaptable. It may be shaped into a variety of algorithms and utilized for surveillance, picture capture, security, animal counting, poaching management, and research.


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How Can AI Aid in the Preservation of Biodiversity?


Animal conservation is quickly becoming a critical problem in the fight to preserve the planet's biodiversity. And AI can play a critical role in discovering, recognizing, and tracking wild animals that have wandered into their natural environment or have been saved in wildlife sanctuaries.


Most significantly, AI can aid in the preservation of endangered flora and animals. And if such creatures are seen or monitored by forest rangers, they can be protected from natural calamities such as forest fires, floods, and illicit activities such as poaching. 


And, in order to protect wild animals, AI-enabled gadgets, apps, and analysis or monitoring systems are employed to keep track of their movements and comprehend animal behavior in order to make accurate forecasts.


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Image depicts ways by which AI can help in Wildlife conservation. This includes: Prediction of endangered species, cease poaching, classify animal species,  vast data collection, study and protect animal species, track wildlife patterns

Ways in which AI can help in wildlife conservation

1. Animal Detection and Counting Using AI


Endangered species on the verge of extinction are protected by specific conservation measures. AI-enabled devices, such as Machine Learning in Robotics or Drone Image Dataset, can keep a watch on such species, assisting wildlife conservation agencies in monitoring their numbers.


Watch this video from Google on How AI and Tech are being used to save Biodiversity:

Similarly, computer vision technology in AI-enabled drones can recognize the types and species of animals and provide researchers with information about their behaviors. The machine learning methods built with a large number of training datasets enable AI to distinguish distinct animal species. 


Satellites can detect large creatures such as elephants and whales. Researchers may collect data and keep a watch on such creatures by employing a collection of satellite images. Animal detection and counting are critical for determining whether their number is expanding or declining.


2. Detecting Poachers in Order to Save Animals


Another illegal practice that reduces the number of endangered species is the intensive slaughter of animals. Poachers kill elephants for their valuable tusks and rhinoceros for their horns, which are sold at extremely high prices in foreign markets. 


However, artificial intelligence (AI) may now assist in the management of such illegal activities via a human-free monitoring system.


AI-enabled drones and night vision cameras can spot such poachers on the ground and alert forest rangers to take action before they kill any animals. Humans carrying weapons and engaging in other odd actions can be easily detected by AI-enabled cameras with fast alert systems.


More similar activities can be accomplished by combining the machine with people working alongside forest rangers. And with an intelligent vision from the sky, nature creatures have fantastic potential. And, in order for the drones to detect different species, a sufficient number of high-quality training datasets are necessary for training the machine learning algorithms.


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3. Identifying the Ocean's Waste Materials


People love the beach but leave garbage along the ocean's edge, posing additional risk to the different species that live or rely entirely on marine life. However, owing to artificial intelligence algorithms, models can now quickly identify and remove plastics from natural habitats before they affect species.


Drones are taught to locate waste materials floating or drowning in the water and to notify the marine animal conservation agency so that such waste materials may be collected and removed. Marine litter mostly consists of plastic items, which have become a common practice among tourists and those who love their lives near the water. 


Plastic is detrimental to living creatures and transports exotic organisms, endangering biodiversity and ecosystems. 


As a result, a better knowledge of littering origins, distribution, and degradation of plastic in seas is required to calculate the danger associated with plastic pollution.


Identifying and categorizing the scattered plastic debris in the water is a difficult process. However, thanks to better AI-enabled cameras mounted on drones, obtaining data on marine trash has become much easier. The AI model has been extensively trained to detect the many sorts of waste items dumped into the ocean.


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4. AI Image Annotation in Animal Conservation


Recognizing wild animals is another difficult challenge, especially when they are in their native habitat. However, because to AI, such creatures can be readily numbered without any human interaction, allowing their numbers to be monitored. Through this, all sorts of animals are marked with the highest level of precision for correct detection. 


Another difficult aspect of wild animal interaction is identifying distinct animal species. However, AI can readily recognize the many species that live on land or in water. Aside from counting, detecting the various types or species of animals is an important aspect of animal conservation.


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5. Annotations for Detecting Poachers


Animals on the verge of extinction can be saved if illicit murders are detected by the wildlife conservation agency utilizing AI-enabled security monitoring deployed at suspect areas. Yes, even in the dark or at night, AI security cameras can spot poachers.


6. Acoustics/Sound Surveillance


Sound monitoring is another use of AI in conservation. Acoustic monitoring technology, like computer vision applications, can execute AI algorithms both on the edge and on the gathered data. Many groups place recorders in the wilderness to listen for certain creatures or species (bats, birds, etc.) as well as to listen to the sounds of nature in general. These acoustic sensors can detect anything around them, including chainsaws, gunshots, and motor vehicles.


Watch this video on How AI can be used to prevent the extinction of Wildlife:

7. GPS Tracking Devices


The use of GPS trackers to track animals' migratory patterns has increased. In this case, AI systems can learn and anticipate an animal's migratory behavior in order to figure out how to best protect its habitats. 


Conservationists can better manage land and resources for these species if they understand where and how the animal moves. Let's get the technology going, and we'll be one step closer to ensuring wildlife's long-term protection.


Bottom Line


If AI can be completely and properly implemented in animal conservation, it can aid in the preservation of the planet's biodiversity. And that is only feasible if the AI models are trained on the appropriate machine learning datasets. 


By giving accurate data on what is happening to nature, AI is revealing the road to protecting animal species. AI provides a complete perspective of the planet's biodiversity and aids in the development of conservation policies.

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