Intel powered AI protects wildlife in Africa

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Smart camera with Intel-powered AI helps to protect wildlife in African jungles.  African wildlife reserves are always a target for illegal poachers. Smart camera powered by Intel AI is playing a major role in removing illegal poachers from reserves. These cameras are capable of identifying the poachers and trigger a warning system for wildlife rangers.

”By pairing AI technology with human decision-makers, we can solve some of our greatest challenges, including illegal poaching of endangered animals. With TrailGuard AI, Intel’s Movidius technology enables the camera to capture suspected poacher images and alerts park rangers, who will ultimately decide the most appropriate response.”

Anna Bethke, leader of AI for Social Good at Intel Corporation

Non-profit RESOLVE’s* new TrailGuard AI* camera uses Intel-powered artificial intelligence (AI) technology to detect poachers entering Africa’s wildlife reserves and alert park rangers in near real-time so poachers can be stopped before killing endangered animals. TrailGuard AI builds on anti-poaching prototypes funded by Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and National Geographic Society.

According to a report, in every 15 minutes poachers kill an elephant and per year it goes to approx 35000 elephants. Experts look at it as a dangerous situation and predict that elephants will be vanished from African jungles in a decade. Not only elephants but they predict that other mammals are also in danger.

#How it works:

TrailGuard AI is powered by the tiny yet powerful Intel® Movidius™ Myriad™ 2 VPU, which delivers visual intelligence to the camera itself. TrailGuard AI uses Deep neural network algorithm that powers the device to recognize the humans and vehicle with illegal activity. It alerts rangers when they sense motion and sends pictures to rangers. Those pictures are manually analyzed by rangers to identify whether it is poaching or not. By adding an additional layer of AI into the system, TrailGuard AI intelligently knows when a potential poacher is present, allowing park rangers to rapidly intercept and apprehend.

Censored photos using a TrailGuard device show poachers in Africa carrying bush meat (left) and moving through a natural area. (Credit: RESOLVE)

“Reckless human activity is causing species loss and extinction on an unprecedented scale, with recent reports showing that as many as 60 percents of all wildlife has been wiped out since 1970. If illegal poaching of wildlife continues at the current rate, elephants are just one of the large mammal species that will be completely erased in our lifetime,” said Justin Winters, executive director, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which provided critical funding for prototypes and is working to support broad-based deployment of these systems. “A commitment to protecting wildlife has been at the heart of LDF’s work from the beginning and we are excited to collaborate with Intel and RESOLVE on this breakthrough AI technology, which is set to be a game-changer for park rangers in the monitoring and management of endangered species around the world.”  

Intel Movidius VPU is designed to perform in the wild for up to 1.5 years without depleting the battery. It requires less maintenance. The TrailGuard AI is designed in a way that it only sends images to the rangers when it detects motion of a human and vehicle. Due to the miniscule size of the Intel Movidius VPU, TrailGuard AI is about the size of a pencil and easier to hide and camouflage from poachers and wild animals.

“The Intel Movidius VPU allowed us to revolutionize TrailGuard AI by adding artificial intelligence to a proven end-to-end solution to stop illegal poaching around the world,” said Eric Dinerstein, director of biodiversity and wildlife at RESOLVE. “In addition to providing the AI technology, Intel engineers worked closely with us to build, test and optimize this incredible anti-poaching solution that will make a real difference in saving animals.”

Intel’s Anna Bethke holds the inside of the TrailGuard AI anti-poaching camera system during a recent demonstration in the mountains south of Monterey, Calif. The Intel Movidius Myriad 2 chip in the camera uses artificial intelligence to identify potential poachers. (Credit: Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation)