Non-profit RESOLVE’s new TrailGuard AI camera uses Intel-powered artificial intelligence (AI) technology to detect poachers entering Africa’s wildlife reserves and alert park rangers in near real-time so poachers can be stopped before killing endangered animals. TrailGuard AI builds on anti-poaching prototypes funded by Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and National Geographic Society.
TrailGuard AI uses Intel® Movidius® Vision Processing Units (VPUs) for image processing, running deep neural network algorithms for object detection and image classification inside the camera. If humans are detected among any of the motion-activated images captured by the camera, it triggers electronic alerts to park personnel so they can mobilize rangers before poachers can do harm.
According to RESOLVE, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes by a poacher, at a rate of approximately 35,000 elephants per year. In a decade, experts predict there won’t be any more elephants. Rhinos, gorillas, tigers and other large mammals are also in danger from poachers, as are giraffes, antelopes and wildebeest that are often caught in poachers’ snares.
Photo: RESOLVE’s Eric Dinerstein holds the internal workings of the TrailGuard AI anti-poaching camera system during a recent demonstration in the mountains south of Monterey, Calif. The Intel Movidius Myriad 2 chip in the camera uses artificial intelligence to identify potential poachers. (Credit: Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation)
“Reckless human activity is causing species loss and extinction on an unprecedented scale, with recent reports showing that as many as 60 percent of all wildlife has been wiped out since 1970. If illegal poaching of wildlife continues at the current rate, elephants are just one of the large mammal species that will be completely erased in our lifetime,” said Justin Winters, executive director, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which provided critical funding for prototypes and is working to support broad-based deployment of these systems. “A commitment to protecting wildlife has been at the heart of LDF’s work from the beginning and we are excited to collaborate with Intel and RESOLVE on this breakthrough AI technology, which is set to be a game-changer for park rangers in the monitoring and management of endangered species around the world.”
Illustration Photo: Elephants (CC0 Creative Commons from Pixabay.com)