Scientists at the University of Twente in the Netherlands are mixing motion sensors with machine learning to create a powerful tool that could help combat wildlife poaching. Motion sensors have already given conservationists the ability to track the whereabouts of endangered animals, but this new advanced sensor allows scientists to recognize when wildlife is responding to a nearby threat.
As reported in New Atlas, the sensor is an inertial measurement unit that includes an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer, which can be attached to the animal to gather motion data as it carries out activities. Using artificial intelligence, the sensor is able to classify different movements and discern when an animal is responding to the presence of humans. When the sensor recognizes wildlife on the run, it can relay that information to a mobile network or satellite connection to alert conservationists.
While the technology could allow for much swifter responses to wildlife poaching, that’s not the only useful application of this technology. According to the researchers, the motion sensor technology could be combined with other wildlife tracking tools to assist in overall efforts to preserve biodiversity.
“Linking wild animal movement recorded using sensors with remotely sensed imagery and GIS (geographic information systems) models is promising technology to better understand the ecological requirements of species, as well as inform management and policy decisions with conservation outcomes and biodiversity,” said Professor Andrew Skidmore, who was involved in the research.
For those of us at the Optimist Daily, it’s exciting to witness the development of new technologies that could help prevent the poaching of precious, endangered species.