article / 20 July 2023

2019 #Tech4Wildlife Recap: Machine Learning Climbs the Ranks

To celebrate the start of our 2023 #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge on July 24th, we’re jumping back in time this week to relive past challenges and see how far we’ve come in conservation tech.

In 2019's #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge, the growing importance of AI tools became clear as community members began to share more photos and videos of early AI-powered data analysis tools capable of finding wildlife in camera traps - a technology that continues to evolve rapidly! 

With every passing year, the #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge captures insights from our community on what technologies are transforming the way we work, and the rise of machine learning within our photo challenges is a remarkable real-time demonstration of how quickly new tech can become integral to the way we collect, analyze, and share data.

Machine learning using thermal imagery to identify types of wildlife, by Claire Burke.
Monitoring rhinos with thermal cameras, by Claire Burke.
Drones, thermal imagery, and machine learning can be used together to monitor and protect critical species, by Claire Burke.

Dr. Claire Burke’s thermal cameras and drones were integrated with AI to monitor and protect critical species like rhinos from threats like poaching, a great demonstration of how several tech tools can work together for greater impact.

Meanwhile, and unsurprisingly for a photo-based event, we also continued to see camera traps shine in our fourth annual photo challenge, including Alvaro García’s entries of camera traps deployed and shared with local communities. 

Deploying camera traps in the Atlantic Forest region, by Alvaro Garcia.
Sharing camera trap data with project workers and their families, by Alvaro Garcia.


And from the biologging community, we saw Equilibrio Azul’s acoustic tracking tools uncover data about the mysterious lives of baby sea turtles, and Roland Kay getting help from an exceptional at-home GPS tracking assistant: a pet cat!

Acoustic tracking of neonate hawksbill sea turtles, by Equilibrio Azul.
This tracking project uncovered data on where young sea turtles go when they learn to swim, by Equilibrio Azul.
A GPS cat tracker used to study where and how pet cats hunt, by Roland Kays.

Check back all this week for more highlights from past #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenges. Read the full announcement here to find out how you can participate this year:

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