when drones come to save the planet

It’s a real slaughter. According to WWF data, 68% of wild animals disappeared between 1970 and 2016. When technology cannot do everything, it sometimes manages to provide invaluable help to all those who work to preserve biodiversity.

An interesting experiment is being carried out by researchers from the University of Western Sydney in Australia in collaboration with the Taronga Conservation Society. They succeed in discovering and counting the fruit bats (a type of bat) in the canopy of leaves.

AI is supposed to count elephants in Africa

To do this, scientists use drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras that make it possible to count this currently endangered species. The Indian fruit bat or Pteropus medius, which occurs on the Indian subcontinent, is also affected by this project.

This exact count is important in order to see clearly and to be able to carry out conservation measures later. Air counting is much more effective in this regard, as one of the authors of this study, John Martin, quoted by Mint Lounge, explains:

There are several problems with conducting ground surveys: the terrain can be difficult and physically demanding for staff to count, and its presence can interfere with fruit bats while foraging, reducing the accuracy of the estimate. Soil counts are based on quick counts of moving animals at dusk when the light fades, making these assessments difficult.

As a reminder, artificial intelligence can also play an important role in the conservation of wildlife. For example, last January we told you about this algorithm developed by Olga Isupova, a scientist at the University of Bath in the UK. The latter is able to automatically count elephants in Africa using images from the WorldView 3 and WorldView 4 satellites. The results seem to be there and this tool achieves a level of precision close to that of humans.

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