Conservation requires a lot of time, work, and money. A lot of time is spent tracking and studying species and their habitats so that we know how they’re being affected by our own actions as humans, by poaching, by global warming, and to get more data to make better-educated decisions on how to help our environment.
Luckily, as technology advances, we’re able to gather more information easily. Here’s some technology being used in conservation right now:
Camera traps have been used for over a hundred years. These cameras are easy to leave out in habitats for extended periods of time. They can then capture images and videos of animals that may be hard to track down on our own, like nocturnal animals or rare animals.1
Scientists can use what they see to gain insight into the habits of animals and how they affect the environment around them. They can also be used to set up livestream feeds, where people can tune in to watch from anywhere in the world.2 Due to the fact that the data is easily accessible, the data can also be used to better fight against poaching.1
Measuring sound can give a lot of insight into a habitat.3 Believe it or not, the quality of an environment’s biodiversity can be measured through acoustic monitoring. If there are a lot of diverse sounds it points to better biodiversity in an ecosystem.2
This is also used to figure out how many species of a particular animal live in a space, pick up on what occurs in that habitat, and see where humans may be disturbing the area.3
For years biologists have been tracking species through radio collars. However, as technology advances and gets smaller and easier to handle, they’re able to track more species. There are now micro-tags that can be put on fish, sea turtles, and many other animals both on land and in the water so we can learn more about them.2
Technology that doesn’t necessarily help in the field, but helps with processing data that biologists collect is an essential part of making conservation easier. The Wildlife Conservation Society, along with other conservation organizations, developed something called MERMAID.4
This is a program that enables marine biologists to more easily plug their data into a system where it’s quickly organized and accessed by other biologists. Instead of them having to spend hours and hours putting in their numbers and observations by hand, this new program was designed to streamline the process and cut down the time it takes.4
As those interested in saving species get smarter and more innovative in how they do their work, those who cause problems for species through poaching also get smarter on how to avoid detection.
Recently a program called AI Guardian of Endangered Species was developed between the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Baidu, a company that handles internet services and AI, to detect illegal wildlife trading online. This tool is able to identify images of species and their parts that are being sold on the internet with 75% accuracy. They continue to work on strengthening the AI to detect even more, and with more accuracy, so they can further crackdown on poaching in the online space.5
Technology is amazing in what it can do. Continuing to innovate to protect our species and our environment is essential to determine new ways to gather data and new best practices.
At the Wolf Center, we believe in bringing you concrete information about the world around you. We believe that is the best way to learn and build appreciation for the environment and the wildlife within it.
We strive to have more people understand and appreciate our carnivores, the complexity of our habitats, and how we can make a difference.
One easy way to make a difference is by donating to the Wolf Center because we can’t do this without you.
Make a one-time donation or a monthly donation. Donate here.
Thank you for your support,
Chris & the WERC Team