Indian Wildlife Officials Utilize AI Cameras to Combat Poaching and Protect Tigers
Wildlife officials in India’s tiger zones are exploring innovative methods to curb poaching and safeguard the country’s tiger population. They have turned to artificial intelligence (AI) cameras, equipped with infrared sensors, to monitor the movement of potential poachers and count wild animals in forests. This cutting-edge technology has already yielded promising results, helping forest authorities secure a conviction in a poaching case.
Traditionally, cameras used in wildlife surveys and census counts have limitations, requiring physical access to retrieve images and being bulky and inefficient in conserving power. However, the new AI camera traps, known as the TrailGuard AI camera-alert system, offer a sleek alternative. These slim devices can be discreetly concealed within tree foliage, ensuring a more inconspicuous presence. Measuring only 13.8 cm long and 1.4 cm wide, the cameras are connected to a communications unit, which is about the size of a notepad.
What sets the TrailGuard system apart is its embedded software, which enables it to capture specific species of interest. Unlike traditional motion-triggered cameras that take pictures of anything within their line of sight, these cameras can be programmed to specifically target humans or certain species such as lions, tigers, and cheetahs. If the camera is within the range of cellphone towers, it can transmit images within 30 seconds. If it’s outside this range, a longer protocol may be required, taking between 3 to 10 minutes.
Researchers and developers have been testing the TrailGuard system in the Kanha-Pench corridor and the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. Their experiments have been successful, with forest department officials receiving alerts of tiger presence mere seconds after detections. This marks the first-ever transmission of wild tiger detections using embedded AI. Notably, the cameras also captured the presence of villagers grazing cattle and collecting forest products, as well as a gang of poachers carrying a hunted animal. Thanks to the role of the TrailGuard images, the poachers were later arrested.
India’s tiger population has been on the rise, but this increase has been concentrated in areas outside protected zones. This has led to an increase in human-wildlife conflict, including attacks on livestock and humans, as well as poaching. The introduction of AI-enabled cameras like the TrailGuard system offers a technological approach to address this issue. It allows authorities to track tigers approaching villages and gather evidence against poachers, enhancing conservation efforts.
The TrailGuard AI camera-alert system was developed by RESOLVE, an international non-profit organization, with Intel’s Myriad chip serving as the operative AI-processor. By optimizing image transmission at the camera level, power consumption has been significantly reduced, enabling the cameras to operate for extended periods. The accuracy of these cameras has also surpassed that of human researchers, capturing tiger images that may have been missed otherwise.
Moving forward, there are plans to incorporate the TrailGuard system in other tiger reserves across the country. With its ability to alert authorities quickly and discreetly, this technology holds immense potential in deterring poaching and protecting India’s tiger population. By harnessing the power of AI, wildlife officials are taking a proactive approach towards conservation and ensuring a harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife.
In conclusion, the use of AI cameras in India’s tiger zones is a significant development in combating poaching and safeguarding one of the world’s most iconic and endangered species. The TrailGuard system’s efficiency, inconspicuousness, and accuracy make it a valuable tool for wildlife officials in their conservation efforts. As technology continues to advance, these AI cameras offer hope for the preservation of India’s tigers and the delicate balance of its ecosystems.
– [Indian Wildlife Officials Utilize AI Cameras to Combat Poaching and Protect Tigers]
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