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WildEyes™ AI offers an alternative solution to Switzerland’s wolf debate

RESOLVE’s new WildEyes AI Technology Can Help People and Wolves Coexist

As Switzerland prepares to vote on the subject of controlling the country’s wolf populations on September 27th, maybe the answer lays not with culling, but with artificial intelligence. WildEyes AI, a new technology developed by RESOLVE, can detect approaching predators and help prevent attacks on livestock before they occur, offering a new solution to improve human-wildlife coexistence.

What is WildEyes AI?

WildEyes™AI is a tiny camera system that is powered by artificial intelligence and can recognize any one of Switzerland’s native predators the moment they get too close to livestock or residential areas. The device can be easily and discreetly attached to a tree and the moment it recognizes a wolf, lynx, or bear, it sends a message to the nearest farmer or park ranger. This early warning system enables rangers to take immediate action, thus protecting both a village’s livestock and Switzerland’s native predators.

How does the technology work?

The WildEyes™ AI system works using an Intel Movidius Vision Processing Unit that processes and classifies the images directly on the camera. Instead of feeding the algorithm with photographs and videos from the wild—that are often difficult, time-consuming, or impossible to obtain—WildEyes™ AI trains its algorithm with three-dimensional simulations of the animal in different poses and positions, viewpoints, and backgrounds. The device has a motion detector, two sensors for different lighting conditions, and a battery life of at least 18 months.

When the animal triggers the motion sensor, waking up the camera’s computer, then runs the wolf detector AI algorithm and sends an alert—which includes the image of the animal for verification—via GSM, long-range radio, or satellite networks to the designated person or center.

 

Detections of wolves and bears by the WildEyes AI technology. The AI detection model is agnostic to the angle of image capture and the background environment, which enables WildEyes AI cameras to accurately detect wolves and bears in all weather conditions, and both during daylight and night time.

 

Who is behind WildEyes AI?

The WildEyes™ AI system is the result of a collaboration between the environmental non-governmental organization RESOLVE, and software developer CVEDIA. It is one of a suite of RESOLVE’s conservation technologies including the TrailGuard™ AI anti-poaching system and the ForestGuard™ AI system to prevent illegal logging. Other partners who have worked on the project include Steve Gulick (a conservation technologist), Inmarsat, and Galaxy1, and One Earth Philanthropy among others.

 

Ten WildEyes AI cameras in hand. The small size and cryptic design enable the cameras to be concealed in vegetation to prevent theft, vandalism, or damage from wildlife.

 

Where is it being used?

TrailGuard™ AI was recently tested in Tanzania’s Grumeti Reserve where it alerted rangers to the location of poachers, resulting in the arrest of 30 individuals and the seizure of over 500 kg of bushmeat. WildEyes™AI is being rolled out in Asia to prevent elephants from raiding local farmland and has applications for preventing livestock depredation by snow leopards, bears, and wolves in the Himalayas, illegal logging in the tropics, and detecting the start of wildfires.

Why use WildEyes™ AI over other methods?

Other camera systems exist but they tend to work only using movement detection. Even moving vegetation can trigger the camera, requiring rangers to manually review numerous false positive photos retrieved from the camera days after the event. By adding artificial intelligence and real-time connectivity to the system, WildEyes™AI takes conservation technology to a whole new level. The camera’s exceptionally small size also enhances camouflage and reduces risk of theft and vandalism. At under CHF 450 per unit, the system is far less expensive than GPS tagging or the building of fences, making it an invaluable tool to help wildlife and humans live together in harmony.

 

For more information and requests for interviews, please contact: Michele Sofisti, Resolve Europe – msofisti@sofos.ch / +41 79 242 69 97

 

Michele Sofisti and Sanjiv Fernando
September 22, 2020
RESOLVE

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