A Dutch technology company has developed a smart camera to tackle Africa’s widespread poaching pandemic.
Hack the Planet says its artificial intelligence-powered system can help detect poachers and animals in real-time.
Engineer Thijs Suijten explained that the system contains a camera trap which has been slightly modified so that it can wirelessly communicate with a mini-computer.
‘This mini-computer downloads the images from the camera and then uses artificial intelligence to automatically classify whether there’s an animal, an elephant, or a human on the photo,’ he said.
The computer then sends the information through a satellite modem into space and directly into the ranger’s phones within minutes.
A much-needed advancement from the previous camera traps that had to be physically checked to see the recordings, making it impossible to know what was happening in real-time.
‘The system was first deployed in Gabon in 2017,’ said Suijten, ‘The focus of the project was mainly on human-wildlife conflict, more specifically, human-elephant conflict.’
Elephants were increasingly breaking into plantations owned by local farmers and destroying them, taking out the livelihood of the locals.
‘This is where we deployed eight of these cameras to create an early warning system so that rangers and locals know that elephants are approaching a village.’
The smart camera system is hoped to provide anti-poaching units with early warnings of imminent danger to help protect the wildlife in Africa’s national parks.
A cellphone sensor device is also being tested, which detects nearby SIM cards, a sign of poachers being present in remote areas.
The tech start-up has tested the boxes in the Netherlands, Gabon, and Slovenia and is now using them in real-life anti-poaching efforts.
Picture: Getaway Gallery
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