WildTrack uses drones to protect wildlife

Species are disappearing at more than 10,000x background rates. Yet humanity depends on this biodiversity for our food, water, fresh air, medicines, natural resources and much more.

Recently, COVID-19, a direct result of our negative impacts on wildlife, has made us realise that making space for wildlife conservation is not just a ‘nice to have’, it’s global priority #1. The United Nations Summit, to be held in NYC in September 2020, is calling for ‘urgent action on biodiversity’.

WildTrack has a unique and award-winning conservation model based on totally non-invasive methods and community-friendly approaches. Our award-winning technology is an innovative mix of millenia-old traditional ecological knowledge, and leading-edge analytics.

One way we can keep track of animals to protect them is through their footprints. Elusive and endangered species are often very hard to spot, but they leave trails of footprints behind.

A black rhino in Namibia leaves a clear trail behind him as he ambles from bush to bush

UAVs are the perfect tool to find these trails – the birds-eye view can see landscape features easily, the UAVs then collect trail data and we analyse them to identify species, individual, sex and age-class.

With our amazing drone partners senseFly (eBeeX landscape drone) and Skydio (Skydio 2 multicopter drone) we are able to undertake:

Terrain mapping to produce rhino protection maps for anti-poaching, resource optimization and rhino management

High-resolution imaging of objects of interest (cryptic ground evidence) on the ground, of which the primary objects of interest are footprint trails and signs of animal and human activity

Anti-poaching analysis, specifically infrared capability to detect illegal poacher activity and rhinos at night

Investigation of inaccessible areas  for example the deep thicket where black rhino often live.

This TerraX documentary showcases our work in Namibia with the senseFly eBeeX aircraft.

The WildTrack team in Namibia, including expert indigenous tracker, following rhino trails that have been identified by a drone

 

Moving Forward

We’re working with senseFly and the University of California, Berkeley, I-School, to develop AI capability that will enable us to identify species trails on-the-fly and follow them. This is part of an end-to-end pipeline capability where footprint data will be seamlessly collected, analysed and rapid results output for wildlife managers.

The WildTrack team with senseFly eBeeX in Namibia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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