India Develops Groundbreaking AI Camera System to Enhance Tiger-Human Coexistence
In a remarkable development in the field of conservation technology, India has introduced an innovative artificial intelligence (AI) camera system designed to promote coexistence between tigers and humans. This groundbreaking technology, known as TrailGuard AI, has the ability to detect tigers and send real-time images to a mobile phone within just 30 seconds, day or night.
Announced by the Global Tiger Forum (GTF), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Clemson University, and the NGO RESOLVE, this pioneering breakthrough is set to revolutionize tiger conservation efforts. Mohnish Kapoor, from the GTF, highlighted the significance of this real-time technology, emphasizing that it not only captures images of wild animals but also identifies the specific species of interest.
With approximately 75% of the world’s tiger population residing in India, it is crucial to find innovative solutions to promote coexistence between tigers and local communities. Currently, over a quarter of India’s tiger population, which stands at 3,682, exists outside protected areas and frequently comes into conflict with communities dwelling on the outskirts. These conflicts often lead to retaliatory measures by villagers, posing a threat to the tigers.
To address this pressing issue, the TrailGuard AI camera-alert system was developed to monitor and detect tigers effectively inhabiting buffer areas near villages. Moreover, it can detect other conflict-prone species like elephants and securely transmit images in a matter of seconds. Equipped with a single battery charge, this cutting-edge technology can transmit over 2,500 images.
Since May 2022, the TrailGuard AI system has been successfully deployed in five tiger reserves within the KanhaPench and Terai-Arc regions in Northern India. Initially tested in Africa over the past four years, this AI-embedded camera-alert system features advanced computer models onboard, which can eliminate false alarms before transmitting data.
Originally designed to detect poachers, this technology was enhanced by integrating a new AI algorithm capable of identifying eight different output classes, including various animals and humans. HS Negi from the GTF expressed optimism about the potential of TrailGuard AI, remarking that it has progressed from being a proof-of-concept to an essential tool in reducing human-wildlife conflicts. He further suggested that this technology can be extended to other tiger range states.
SP Yadav, member-secretary of the NTCA, highlighted the significant advantages of AI technology in wildlife protection, including generating forecasts and alerts in interface areas. Ramesh Krishnamurthy, a professor at the Wildlife Institute of India, commended the 24×7 coverage offered by TrailGuard AI in multiple conflict hotspots, enabling forest management to bridge staffing limitations.
India’s pioneering AI camera system marks a significant step forward in fostering harmony between tigers and humans in wildlife-rich areas. Conservation efforts are set to be bolstered as this technology helps minimize human-wildlife conflicts and preserves India’s precious tiger population. With further advancements and wider adoption, the TrailGuard AI system has the potential to safeguard tigers and other wildlife species across different regions, ensuring a brighter future for both animals and communities.