Today’s Solutions: October 24, 2021

African elephants are beautiful and majestic creatures that are unfortunately targeted by poachers because of their ivory tusks. In the last 50 years, the savanna elephant population dropped by 60 percent and the number of forest elephants has fallen by 86 percent in the past three decades.

Poaching is one of the biggest threats to African elephants and, along with land degradation, is the main contributor to the decline of African elephant populations.

Even though a ban on ivory trading brought poaching numbers down in 1989, they rose again after 2007 when African countries allowed the auction of stockpiles of seized tusks, giving traffickers a loophole to pass their ivory off as legal.

Fortunately, Dr. Olga Isupova, a computer scientist at the University of Bath, has created an algorithm that may be able to help save African elephants from extinction. The algorithm uses a satellite to scan large areas of land in short periods of time to collect 5,000 km2 worth of photos, which is perfect for the animals’ grassland and forest habitats.

In combination with high-resolution imagery, this newly developed AI technology presents less of a risk of double counting, doesn’t endanger humans in the data collection process, and is less disruptive to animals in their natural habitats.

Dr. Isupova says that “monitoring of animals is one piece of a puzzle in conservation including anti-poaching activities.” According to her, the technology should be used to supplement other methods to stop poaching completely and insists that it is still important to fund conservationists on the ground.

For future development, Dr. Isupova hopes to create systems that will detect carcasses, exposing illegal poaching activities. She also indicated that efforts are being made to develop AI that can observe smaller animals like cattle and giraffes with the same accuracy.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Algae wrapped in droplets improves efficiency of artificial photosynthesis

In our quest for the most sustainable, most renewable sources of energy, humanity continues to look to nature for inspiration. One of nature’s most efficient energy systems is photosynthesis, which is how plants convert sunlight, ... Read More

Evidence shows Vikings arrived in Americas nearly 500 years before Columbus

Researchers have known for a while that Vikings from Greenland founded the village of L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland around the turn of the millennium, but now, a study published in Nature has finally pinpointed ... Read More

Egypt’s State Council swears-in the nation’s first female judges

Egypt’s State Council was established in 1946 and is an independent judicial body that deals with administrative disputes, disciplinary cases, appeals, reviews draft laws, decisions, and contracts that involve the government or a government-run body. ... Read More

Is group or individual work more productive? Here’s what science says

Are you a group project person or do you prefer to fly solo? We all have our work preferences, but what does science say about teamwork and productivity? A new study conducted by Quartz aims ... Read More

Wildlife filmaker provides a unique insight into the daily lives of bees

You may have seen bees flying around your backyard or local park, but it can be difficult for the naked human eye to grasp the full complexity of the lives of these pollinators. During the ... Read More