Artificial Intelligence: For the first time, an innovative video alert system powered by artificial intelligence (AI) has been created in India with the goal of fostering cohabitation between tigers and humans. The device, created by TrailGuard AI, can quickly and continuously send photographs to a cell phone in 30 seconds after detecting a tiger on the prowl. The Global Tiger Forum (GTF), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Clemson University, and the NGO RESOLVE highlighted the significant advancement in conservation technologies on Thursday.
Innovative Technology for Real-time Wildlife Monitoring
Mohnish Kapoor, head, programme & partnerships, GTF, said, “It is a real-time technology developed in India where the camera not only clicks the wild animals but also identifies the species of interest.” Wildlife scientists have long wished for a “smart” camera-alerting system like TrailGuard AI that could track and identify tigers inhabiting buffer zones close to villages and convey photographs of tigers, elephants, or other species that are prone to conflict. India is home to 3,682 tigers, or over 75% of the total tiger population worldwide. In conflict with communities residing in buffer zones and outside of protected areas (PAs), more than 26% of these tigers can be found there. Villagers retaliate as a result.
Protecting Tigers and Wildlife Through Cutting-Edge Technology
Therefore, cutting-edge technology encouraging coexistence in landscapes dominated by humans was required, according to Mohnish Kapoor. Wild tigers and elephants have been discovered for the first time thanks to the Trail Guard AI camera-alert system. The appropriate authorities are notified less than 30 seconds after the motion sensor was triggered by the passing tiger. On a single battery charge, the technology can send more than 2,500 photos. In and around five tiger reserves in parts of two of the most fruitful tiger landscapes—KanhaPench and the Terai-Arc in North India—since May 2022, TrailGuard AI has been installed. Over the previous four years, the new technology was successfully prototyped in Africa before being put through its paces in India. Onboard the camera, this tiny AI-embedded camera-alert system runs potent computer models to screen out false positives prior to data transmission. Originally created to identify poachers, it now recognises eight output classes in addition to people, including felids, canids, elephants, rhinoceroses, sloth bears, wild pigs, and a catch-all class for all other mammals and large birds.
A Game Changer in Mitigating Human-Wildlife Conflict
“TrailGuard AI has moved from proof-of-concept to becoming part of the toolbox to reduce man-wildlife conflict. This technology can be spread to the other tiger range states,” said HS Negi, senior advisor, GTF. SP Yadav, member-secretary, NTCA, asserts that AI technology can be extremely helpful for safeguarding wildlife and producing forecasts and alerts in interface regions. “TrailGuard AI provides 24×7 coverage over multiple hotspots of conflict, thus enabling forest management to offset these staffing limitations,” said Ramesh Krishnamurthy, a professor with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).