Wildlife

Wildlife Audio Detection System

Background

The Earth is facing the sixth mass extinction of wildlife [1]. This time it is caused by humans. Climate change, pollution, destruction of ecosystems, deforestation, poaching and other human activities are responsible for the fact that currently there are up to one million species of plants and animals which are threatened by extinction [2].

We, the humans, strongly depend on biodiversity for our health and wellbeing yet we are currently destroying that ecosystem. Consequently, we must protect wildlife and ensure the stability of the earth’s ecosystem in our own interest.

One of the essential components of any wildlife conservation effort is the understanding of migration behavior and population of animals. However, field observations are often very expensive, tedious, and too slow for effective and efficient conservation actions. MI-technologies can improve the current situation significantly. In addition, they can support us in fighting illegal activities against flora and fauna.

Vision

 

Creation of an audio detection system (hardware and software) that can automatically identify the voices of the most species living on earth and can be applied by wildlife researchers, NPOs, and natural reserve parks to estimate, control and protect populations of endangered species. It can also be applied to assist in prevention of poaching and illegal deforestation (via identification of sounds of human activities like chainsaw, truck, and gun sounds).

Expected Impact

This system will allow to perform research studies on migration behavior and population of endangered species much faster and more efficiently than the state-of-the-art study methods. It will also lead to reduced study costs and better return on investment. In addition, the system can be applied by natural reserve parks in order to continuously observe population of animals living in the park area. Further, it can be applied by park rangers to quickly identify illegal human activities (e.g., poaching or logging) within the park boarders enabling them to take actions fast.

As an overall impact, the system will contribute to conservation of endangered species, maintaining biodiversity, and preserving Earth’s ecosystem.

Project Phases

  • Phase 1: Research and Proof-of-Concept
    This phase is dedicated to research on possible MI-architectures and algorithms that can handle a very broad spectrum of animal voices. This phase serves as proof of feasibility for the planned Wildlife Audio Detection System and provides the scientific foundation for the whole project.

  • Phase 2: Building Application
    This phase is focused on building a working prototype of the Wildlife Audio Detection System.

  • Phase 3: Field Study
    The focus of this phase is to perform a detailed field study of the impact of the MI4People’s Wildlife Audio Detection System. For this purpose, the system should be rolled out in several testing regions with different composition of animal species.

  • Phase 4: Release to Community
    If Phase 4 will show positive and impactful results, MI4People will make relevant software code, data, MI-models/tools, and any other intellectual property created during the project publicly available and will create a community of enthusiasts who will proceed to maintain and improve the application as an open-source project.

Current Status

Kick-off of Phase 1.

Opportunities for Contribution

 

We are currently searching for Data Engineers, Data Scientists, and Data Labelers who would be ready to contribute to the project as volunteers.

We also would be very grateful for any donations in cash or kind to support this initiative.