Machine-Vision Drones Now Being Used To Monitor Animals In The African Savanna

Written by Staff

The Kalahari is a semi-arid sandy savanna that stretches across huge areas of Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia. It is home to a wide variety of large mammals including giraffes, ostriches, gnus, and various species of gazelle.

Food resources constantly change in the savanna as rainfall changes, from grazing pressure and as bush fires spread across the land. To avoid overgrazing, land managers must ensure that the number of grazers is matched to the availability of food.

From MIT Tech Review.

That requires significant monitoring. The most common ways of estimating populations of large mammals is to count them from a helicopter or to set up camera traps that record their movements through specific locations.

But these methods have significant drawbacks. Camera traps can only record populations in a single place and helicopter studies are expensive and time-consuming.

Another option is to photograph the area using a drone. This produces large numbers of images covering vast areas of land. But there is a problem. Analyzing these images is hard. It requires trained human operators to devote large amounts of time to the task.

Read more at MIT Tech Review.

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