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Drones and AI combine to combat poaching in southern Africa
Drones have the potential to play a big role in protecting endangered species, with a number of trials being conducted to investigate how small aerial surveillance aircraft can be used to combat poaching.
The latest effort involves the use of artificial intelligence software to quickly identify poachers and animals in drone footage, in an attempt to better protect elephants and rhinos.
Developed by Neurala, the software will be used by the Lindbergh Foundation in its efforts to combat poaching. It's designed to keep an eye on video as it's streamed back to researchers from drones in the field and identify animals, vehicles and poachers in real time without any human input. The software can analyse regular or infrared footage, so works with video taken day or night.
The Lindbergh Foundation will be deploying the technology as a part of operation Air Shepherd, which is aimed at protecting elephants and rhinos in southern Africa from poachers .
Read in full at newatlas.com/neurala-lindbergh-foundation-drone-ai-poaching/49627/
#Africa #Malawi #Zimbabwe #SouthAfrica #elephants #rhinos #poaching #drones #AI Neurala Air Shepherd
Inmage: AI software developed by Neurala will be used to analyse drone footage in real time to identify animals, vehicles and poachers, via Neurala ... See MoreSee Less
1 hour ago ·
South Africa shoots rhino poachers but lets kingpins walk, new report finds
Rhino poaching middlemen and kingpins continue to operate with impunity in South Africa, according to a new WildAid report, which reveals how the country has failed to prosecute or sufficiently punish those arrested for high level involvement in rhino crimes.
"For years we have seen one South African elite after another evade justice, despite orchestrating the killing of rhinos and the trafficking of their horns," said Peter Knights, CEO of WildAid. "The corruption, incompetence, and leniency in the system must not be allowed to continue. Organized crime is stopped by taking out the leaders, not just the foot soldiers."
WildAid's report cites repeated examples of case dismissals, postponements and paltry fines, most often associated with suspects coming from the professional hunting, game farming or veterinary industries. Low level poachers, by contrast, are often shot or jailed for lengthy terms.
The game industry was also behind a challenge to South Africa's moratorium on domestic rhino horn trade, which was overturned last month. Alarmingly, the country is now contemplating allowing horns to be exported legally.
"As we saw tragically with ivory legalization, it provides cover, and actually increases demand rather than satiating it," Knights said. "Legal rhino horn trade can provide a laundering mechanism, fuel increased rhino poaching, and undermine demand reduction efforts in consuming countries that are starting to make a real impact."
Read in full at www.wildaid.org/news/south-africa-shoots-rhino-poachers-lets-kingpins-walk-new-report-finds
#SouthAfrica #Africa #rhinos #rhinohorn #poaching #illegalwildlifetrade #corruption WildAid
Image: Rhino poached for its horn in South Africa (c) AP SA ... See MoreSee Less
3 days ago ·
USA: Company charged with illegally trading $17.5M of sea cucumbers
A major federal investigation into wildlife crime has led to the indictment of a father-son duo who allegedly smuggled into San Diego illegally harvested sea cucumbers worth more than $17 million and then sold them to Asian markets.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego filed charges on Wednesday against David Mayorquin and his father, Ramon Torres Mayorquin, accusing them of conspiracy, false labeling and unlawful importation of wildlife. The men co-own the Arizona-based company Blessing Seafood.
This prosecution is the latest in ongoing efforts to crack down on the lucrative trade of sea cucumbers. The sausage-shaped marine animals are prized by some Asian communities as a culinary delicacy and folk-medicine ingredient.
... “We have over-fished and created a risk of extinction for many species (of sea cucumbers),” said Octavio Aburto, a marine ecologist with UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “There’s a lot of poaching, and prices are going up.”
Read in full at www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/environment/sd-me-sea-cucumbers-20170518-story.html
#USA #China #Asia #oceans #seacucumber #SanDiego #illegalwildlifetrade
Image: Giant California sea cucumber, by pfly ... See MoreSee Less
3 days ago ·