African elephants surveyed using AI

AI based survey of elephants!

6 January 2021.


A new approach for surveying African elephants using satellite imagery and Artfitial Intelligence has been Developed by an International team of researchers led by University of Oxford.

Highlights :

  • The method uses satellite orbiting in space that is capable of capturing more than five thousand square kilometres of images.
  • The captured images is then processed through deep learning model that will detect elephants eliminating other objects.
  • The International team used a customised dataset to cover more than thousand elephants in South Africa.
  • The method eliminates the risk of double counting. Also, it makes it possible to conduct repeat surveys in short intervals.
  • The method is capable of identifying calves separately.

 Current methods used to count elephants?

  • Manual counting and Manned Aircrafts for aerial counts are current methods.
  •  Of this, the manned aircrafts for aerial counts is highly expensive.
  • Also, such methods are hindered by poor visibility and are highly challenging.
  • The other manual counting methods might lead to erroneous counting.
  • This might result in misallocation of scarce conservation resources and misunderstanding of population trends.

Elephants in India

The population of elephants in India is 27,312. The Indian Elephants are one of the three subspecies of Asian elephants.

Conservation of Elephants

  • In 1986, the Asian elephants were listed as “Endangered” in IUCN Red List.
  •  They have been listed under CITES Appendix I.
  • India launched Project Elephant in 1992 to provide financial and technical support of wildlife management efforts.
  • The project aims to increase the life of the elephants in their natural habitats by protecting their habitats and migration corridors.

Elephant Corridors in India

  • There are 138 elephant corridors in India.
  • Of these 28 are interstate and seventeen are international state corridors.
  •  The Elephant corridors are narrow strips of land that connects two large habitats of elephants.
  • They are crucial to reduce animal fatalities due to accidents.

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