AI-powered system confirms at least five jaguars in Dzilam State Reserve
MEXICO CITY, May 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- A team of nature conservation experts announced that they have identified at least five jaguars in Dzilam State Reserve in Yucatan, Mexico.
Enabled by Huawei's cloud platform and AI, the team have identified two adult males, one adult female, and two cubs as part of a Tech4Nature project launched by IUCN and Huawei in Dzilam State Reserve in 2022.
Prior to the project, experts did not know whether the reserve was home to jaguars and if so, how many there were.
"Our umbrella species is the jaguar, because if we protect it, then we protect everything that surrounds them. What we are doing is a huge and pioneering step for decision-making for conservation and nature-based solutions," said Regina Cervera, Project Coordinator at the innovation agency C Minds.
The project utilizes infrared cameras, audio monitoring devices, cloud, and AI to collect, monitor, and analyze acoustic and visual data that gives a baseline understanding of the presence of 25 species, one of which is the endangered North American jaguar - an umbrella species that indicates the health of the whole ecosystem. The data collected is processed on Huawei's ModelArts AI platform and Rainforest Connection's Arbimon AI platform.
"We need to upload the data to a big data platform because of the high volume of information," said Joaquin Saldana, Director of Strategy Marketing at Huawei Latin America. "We need to process it at high speed and with artificial intelligence. Then we can start to understand the data and detect the animals that interest us."
Alongside C Minds and Huawei Mexico, project partners include International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Polytechnic University of Yucatan, Rainforest Connection, the government authorities of Yucatan, and local community groups.
"The Tech4Nature project in Mexico is a successful example of how local communities use innovative technologies for biodiversity conservation," said Nadine Seleem, Green List Project Leader at IUCN.
With 30,000 images, 550,000 audio recordings, and extensive video footage collected and analyzed to date, the Tech4Nature partners have identified 119 species. These include 88 birds, 22 mammals, five reptiles, and four amphibians. Of these, 34 species are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The data also provides a rich array of data-driven insights for researchers to develop conservation measures based on a far more complete understanding of the ecosystem as a whole.
"Knowing is extremely valuable, which is what we get now with monitoring. If we do not see them, we do not know they are there. If people do not know about these animals, they cannot help us," said Sayda Rodriguez Gomez, Secretary of Sustainable Development of Yucatan.
Protecting the jaguar is of high importance to the surrounding communities and their involvement in the project is crucial.
"This is jaguar territory. If we do not protect this habitat, we will only find these jaguars in books," said Juan Castillo, a community leader in Dzilam de Bravo.
Mexico's jaguars are threatened by poaching, deforestation, habitat loss, and climate change. Ecologists estimate that around 4,000 to 5,000 jaguars live in the wild in Mexico, more than half of which live in Yucatan Peninsula, making the area one of the nation's primary regions for conservation.
The team are currently working on developing algorithms that can identify individual jaguars, based on which population numbers can be more accurately calculated.
On World Environment Day on June 5, IUCN and Huawei will host the third Tech4Nature webinar themed "Smarter Biodiversity Conservation". At the event, government, conservation, and technology experts will explore how technology can make nature conservation smarter and showcase current innovations and achievements in this area. IUCN and Huawei will also launch the Smart Protected Areas whitepaper that can help enable smarter nature conservation.
Huawei and the International Union for Conservation of nature (IUCN) jointly launched the three-year Tech4Nature partnership in 2020 to measure the efficacy of nature conservation using digital technologies against the IUCN green list standard. Tech4Nature comes under Huawei's digital inclusion and sustainability initiative TECH4ALL.
TECH4ALL is Huawei's long-term digital inclusion initiative and action plan. Enabled by innovative technologies and partnerships, TECH4ALL is designed to help promote inclusion and sustainability in the digital world.
For more information, please visit Huawei TECH4ALL website at https://www.huawei.com/en/tech4all
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