Though people all over the world love elephants, farmers often fear and even loathe them for their habit of raiding local fields and entering small villages, especially as elephants’ habitat and food sources have dwindled.
Hundreds of humans and elephants alike die every year in these conflicts.
A new system called WildEyes AI may provide an early warning that could save the lives of both elephants and humans.
The key to the WildEyes system, a collaboration between the environmental organization RESOLVE and software developer CVEDIA, is an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that lives on the camera’s SD memory card.
This AI can identify what it sees instantaneously, without an internet connection.
The organization provides farmers with wildlife conflict training and deterrent kits, created by the organization Honeyguide, that deploy light, noise, and trunk-tickling chili pepper to humanely turn African elephants away from fields.
Bivash Pandav, a scientist who studies human-elephant conflict, added in an email that the system could potentially replace current expensive and time-consuming methods.
“The trick here is to observe elephants, understand their movement pattern and deploy a good number of cameras at appropriate places,” Pandav said.
Perhaps, in the future, we can protect elephants while giving farmers more good nights’ sleep, their farms protected not by human eyes, but by AI.
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