discussion / AI for Conservation  / 9 January 2024

Wildlife Conservation for "Dummies"

Hello WILDLBAS community,

For individuals newly venturing into the realm of Wildlife Conservation, especially Software Developers, Computer Vision researchers, or Data Scientists without a life science background, your insights are invaluable. Imagining a scenario where such an open-minded professional is about to join your team to contribute to your IT environment, software, and data pipeline challenges, what recommendations do you have?

What would be the initial steps for someone eager to learn and apply their IT expertise to the world of wildlife conservation / research? Are there specific scientific papers, media articles, or reports that you highly recommend for gaining insights into the achievements, role, future, and trends of technology in Wildlife Conservation?

Additionally, are there notable resources similar to @dmorris  Everything I know about ML and camera traps that you believe should be highlighted here?

Thank you for your response.


Maybe this is obvious, but maybe it's so obvious that you could easily forget to include this in your list of recommendations: encourage them to hang out here on WILDLABS!  I say that in all seriousness: if you get some great responses here and compile them into a list, it would be easy to forget the fact that you came to WILDLABS to get those responses.

I get questions like this frequently, and my recommended entry points are always (1) attend the WILDLABS Variety Hour series, (2) lurk on WILDLABS.net, and (3) if they express a specific interest in AI, lurk on the AI for Conservation Slack.

I usually also recommend that folks visit the Work on Climate Slack and - if they live in a major city - to attend one of the in-person Work on Climate events.  You'll see relatively little conservation talk there, but conservation tech is just a small subset of sustainability tech, and for a new person in the field, if they're interested in environmental sustainability, even if they're a bit more interested in conservation than in other aspects of sustainability, the sheer number of opportunities in non-conservation-related climate tech may help them get their hands dirty more quickly than in conservation specifically, especially if they're looking to make a full-time career transition.  But of course, I'd rather have everyone working on conservation!

Some good overview papers I'd recommend include: 

I'd also encourage you to follow the #tech4wildlife hashtags on social media! 



I'm also here for this. This is my first comment... I've been lurking for a while.

I have 20 years of professional knowledge in design, with the bulk of that being software design. I also have a keen interest in wildlife. I've never really combined the two; and I'm starting to feel like that is a waste. I have a lot to contribute. The loss of biodiversity is terrifying me. So I’m making a plan that in 2024 I’m going to combine both.

However, if I’m honest with you – I struggle with where to start. There are such vast amounts of information out there I find myself jumping all over the place. A lot of it is highly scientific, which is great – but I do not have a science background.

As suggested by the post title.. a “Wildlife Conservation for Dummies” would be exactly what I am looking for. Because in this case I’m happy to admit I am a complete dummy.