Emerging Tech / Feed

Technology is changing and evolving faster than ever, and as it does, our community members are looking for the next big thing to revolutionize their conservation tech work. To chat about your favorite new tools that are just emerging in the field and discover innovations you haven't yet heard of, join this group!


Data Logger Suggestions

Hello, I have been using a data logger in my tag that doesn't seem to be working for our needs any longer. I was wondering if anyone might be able to suggest one they use and...

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Hi Andrea,

The OpenLog Artemis might be an option. I haven't used one of these yet, but its what I immediately thought of. Built in real time clock and IMU that records to microSD. It has four 14-bit ADCs and I2C connectors for the 'Qwiic' or 'grove' sensor boards. I'm not sure if it has programmable on/off cycles with the clock but you may find an existing project that does this. 

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Mass Detection of Wildlife Snares Using Airborne Synthetic Radar

Mass Detection of Wildlife Snares Using Airborne Synthetic RadarFor the last year my colleauges Prof. Mike Inggs (Radar - Electrical Engineering, Unviversity of Cape Town) and...

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Operating at 2GHz the radar penetrates vegetation so could see through canopy, but not through trunks of trees. However snares are typically set in groups, so one could maximise chance of locating all snares by carrying out a circular/spiral flight path after detection of a potential snare to locate others

Hi David,

I assume this will only work with wire (metal) snares? We often see snares made of nylon rope (used for lucern bales) in the field, which I assume will be missed by the radar?



Hi David, would love to collaborate with you on this topic. A few years ago Dr. Nick van Doormaal did his PhD on snaring with us and we ran a number of experiments on the detection of snares in a real world scenario using trained anti-poaching teams. I think it would be quite simple to replicate the study and then look at the efficacy of remote sensing vs human detection. Let me know if you are interested in chatting further!

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ChatGPT for conservation

Hi, I've been wondering what this community's thoughts are on ChatGPT? I was just having a play with it and asked:"could you write me a script in python that loads photos and...

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The greatest issue with ChatGPT is GIGO (Garbage in, garbage out). It doesn't matter how good the machine learning algorithm is, if it gets fed bad information (data) it will regurgitate bad information. One obvious problem is that it does not reference its information sources. So some of it might be established beyond any doubt, but then it includes something it made up out of thin air with an equally authoritative tone. Because at bottom, ChatGPT is still a dumb machine (or collection of machines) that has to be told what to do by its programmers. It can be useful, but for conservation issues that can have far-reaching implications, I will not trust it. It could be really useful with the addition of two measures (maybe one has already been implemented?):

  1. The option to show the references for all sources (for each statement that it makes; and if it makes its own logical deduction, show that explicitly).
  2. Either weighing or restricting its input to sources that has been checked (e.g. peer-reviewed articles) for at least its scientific output (maybe/hopefully Google is already doing this).

I think with the addition of these two functions it will really become useful to conservation. But we are not there yet. In the meantime it is similar to Wikipedia, maybe a good a starting point for further research.

Just so you know, I uploaded both a photo without a cat and one with a cat in the picture and ask if there was a cat in the picture it got it correct both times.


Uploading pictures to wildlabs doesn't seem to work at this time, so I can't show you the response, but the second answer with the cat in the picture it answered with:

"Yes, there is a cat in this picture. It appears to be in the middle of the driveway."

You can already achieve both of them with your prompt. 
Or, if you're not using ChatGPT specifically but another LLM that you can fine tune, you can use RAG or fine tuning to extra train the algorithm on the data you want it to extract information from.
With ChatGPT you can create your custom GPT now.

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Passionate engineer offering funding and tech solutions pro-bono.

My name is Krasi Georgiev and I run an initiative focused on providing funding and tech solutions for stories with a real-world impact. The main reason is that I am passionate...

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Hi Krasi! Greetings from Brazil!

That's a cool journey you've started! Congratulations. And I felt like theSearchLife resonates with the work I'm involved round here. In a nutshell, I live at the heart of the largest remaining of Atlantic forest in the planet - one of the most biodiverse biomes that exist. The subregion where I live is named after and bathed by the "Rio Sagrado" (Sacred River), a magnificent water body with a very rich cultural significance to the region (it has served as a safe zone for fleeing slaves). Well, the river and the entire bioregion is currently under the threat of a truly devastating railroad project which, to say the least is planned to cut through over 100 water springs! 

In face of that the local community (myself included) has been mobilizing to raise awareness of the issue and hopefully stop this madness (fueled by strong international forces). One of the ways we've been fighting this is through the seeking of the recognition of the sacred river as an entity of legal rights, who can manifest itself in court, against such threats. And to illustrate what this would look like, I've been developing this AI (LLM) powered avatar for the river, which could maybe serve as its human-relatable voice. An existing prototype of such avatar is available here. It has been fine-tuned with over 20 scientific papers on the Sacred River watershed.

And right now myself and other are mobilizing to manifest the conditions/resources to develop a next version of the avatar, which would include remote sensing capacities so the avatar is directly connected to the river and can possibly write full scientific reports on its physical properties (i.e. water quality) and the surrounding biodiversity. In fact, myself and 3 other members of the WildLabs community have just applied to the WildLabs Grant program in order to accomplish that. Hopefully the results are positive.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that our mobilization around providing an expression medium for the river has been multimodal, including the creation of a shortfilm based on theatrical mobilizations we did during a fest dedicated to the river and its surrounding more-than-human communities. You can check that out here:


Let's chat if any of that catches your interest!


Hi Danilo. you seem very passionate about this initiative which is a good start.
It is an interesting coincidence that I am starting another project for the coral reefs in the Philipines which also requires water analytics so I can probably work on both projects at the same time.

Let's that have a call and discuss, will send you a pm with my contact details

There is a tech glitch and I don't get email notifications from here.

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Need advice - image management and tagging 

Hello Wildlabs,Our botany team is using drones to survey vertical cliffs for rare and endangered plants. Its going well and we have been able to locate and map many new...

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I have no familiarity with Lightroom, but the problem you describe seems like a pretty typical data storage and look up issue.  This is the kind of problem that many software engineers deal with on a daily bases.  In almost every circumstance this class of problem is solved using a database.

In fact, a potentially useful analysis is that the Lightroom database is not providing the feature set you need.

It seems likely that you are not looking for a software development project, and setting up you own DB would certainly require some effort, but if this is a serious issue for your work, you hope to scale your work up, or bring many other participants into your project, it might make sense to have an information system that better fits your needs.

There are many different databases out there optimized for different sorts of things.  For this I might suggest taking a look at MongoDB with GridFS for a couple of reasons.

  1. It looks like you meta data is in JSON format.  Many DBs are JSON compatible, but Mongo is JSON native.  It is especially good at storing and retrieving JSON data.  Its JSON search capabilities are excellent and easy to use.  It looks like you could export your data directly from Lightroom into Mongo, so it might be pretty easy actually.
  2. Mongo with the GridFS package is an excellent repository for arbitrarily large image files.
  3. It is straightforward to make a Mongo database accessible via a website.
  4. They are open source (in a manner of speaking) and you can run it for free.

Disclaimer: I used to work for MongoDB.  I don't anymore and I have no vested interest at all, but they make a great product that would really crush this whole class of problem.

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Cutting edge plant conservation

A game-changing new tool is helping conservationists working with critically endangered cliff plants 

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Great work!  Although even the expanded numbers of individual plants are still concerningly tiny, it is reassuring to know that nature can keep more secret holdouts than we...
This has been an incredible adventure so far! Glad to have contributed to a new technology that will have a concrete ecological impact.
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Apply to Beta test Instant Detect 2.0

Hi WildLabs,ZSL is looking for Beta testers for Instant Detect 2.0. If you are a conservationist, scientist or wildlife ranger with experience working with innovative...

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Will you accept personal/hobbyist focused on conservation on their small plots of land (10-100 acres)?

I would, and know others, who would happily pay more than the official conservationists rate for the service, which could help to further subsidize the project. (Referring to your statement here:

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Call for Interview Subjects: Conservation Bioacoustics Methods

As a part of my ongoing doctoral research in Geography at Royal Holloway University of London, I’m looking for a new round of interview subjects who are willing to share their...

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Happy to help Samuel, will send a message

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Autonomizing Small Mammal Traps

If there was a product on the market that was capable of trapping, ‘tagging,’ and releasing an individual without human intervention, would you or your peers invest? Live mammal...

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One thing to keep in mind is that researchers often want or at least would like to get certain metadata on the tagged animals like sex, size, weight, apperent fitness etc. Without these the questions you can ask can get rather limited. Also, it will also often be highly desired to take samples like blood, hair, other tissue e.g.

In addition, there can be cases where it may be better not to tag the animal if it is not the right age group, is too small to carry the tag, seems like it is not in a good shape etc.

I think it will take quite an effort to get automated systems (capture robots) to make these decisions to a degree you can trust.



I always thought a tracker that attached like a slap bracelet would be sweet.

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Wishlist for kit in a field-based Research Station or tech testing space?

Hi wildlabbers!A colleague is looking to crowdsource some advice: what would be on your wishlist for kitting out a field based space for research and tech development?...

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Regine Weckauf over on linkedin

'Little to do with research and tech development, but given how hard it is to attract and retain experienced staff to field based positions, I know it makes a difference how nice the space is. Just because it's the "field", shouldn't mean staff living in basic conditions, regardless of how many times we've been told to see it as a badge of honor. If you have the money, put in nice bathrooms, kitchen, living spaces, and private accommodation. Maybe even a nursery? It creates more local employment opportunities and people genuinely want to visit.'


Love the idea for in-house gear/supplies! It can be SOO difficult to travel with batteries, electronics parts with airline regs, country policies, etc. and shipping recorders/trail cams/etc. gets VERY (prohibitively) pricey in some countries with customs and taxes. Would be great to have an in-country place to source that kind of equipment. 

Housing educational resources related to that tech (in the form of people, print materials, computer tutorials) in-house would be similarly awesome. Particularly/especially in local languages.   

Having in-country wet labs as well helps the eDNA/genetics folks, since sample import/export permitting can be (always seems to be?!) a nightmare, so if you can even just do PCR and/or extractions in-country that helps a ton. 

In terms of overall field-station-wishlist - honestly, just the promise of continued funding and staff. Every field station I've been to or worked at is in a constant search for enough money to get through the next month/year, because the funding comes in the establish a station but then not to maintain it long-term. It's not sexy for a wishlist per se, but boy is it over-looked and much-needed. 

@hikinghack from Dinalab would probably have lots of good insights on this! 

My suggestion would probably be a 3D printer and Solder Station with a stock of common components. With those two things you can solve most problems.

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