AI for Wildlife Lab

Advancing preservation of biodiversity with the help of AI

10

partners

5+

Challenges per year

250+

AI for Wildlife Engineers

25,000+

hrs of Engineering

Multiplying Engineering Skills and Effort for Biodiversity
WHAT IS AI FOR WILDLIFE LAB?

Multiplying AI Engineering Skills for Wildlife Protection

Labs by FruitPunch AI build a community of AI engineers with an ecosystem of partners around a specific topic and technology. AI for Wildlife Lab bundles the experience from all challenges into resources for machine learning projects zooming in on biodiversity protection. It helps its members and partners to strengthen their network with other organizations operating in the niche.

WHY AI LAB FOR WILDLIFE CONSERVATION?

A personal quest to protect wildlife

In the very beginning of the non-profit initiative, to become later FruitPunch AI, Buster Franken was looking for a way to make an impact in the real world. Buster put out a call to action to apply AI to solve problems related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The wildlife reserves of South Africa responded and weeks later, Buster was in the bush in Pilanesberg, SA to see how AI could help in their fight against poaching. He witnessed the trail of destruction left by poachers.  

He knew he couldn’t do this alone so he recruited co-founder Sako Arts and 50 AI engineers from around the globe to tackle the beast. For 10 weeks, they worked closely together with the rangers to develop an autonomous drone with thermal cameras to detect poachers. This was the first AI for Good Challenge - AI for Wildlife. 

Wildlife has a special place in our hearts and its conservation is an important part of the the UN Sustainable Goal #15 - Life of Land. With the AI for Wildlife Lab we’ll be able to do much more to protect it.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

12

Targets

15

Events

31

Publications

908

Actions

Find out more about Goal 15
Goal 15 infographic
Goal 15 infographic, source: unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2022/
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF THE LAB?

Build a community of skilled AI for Wildlife Engineers using machine learning to tackle wildlife conservation

Organize as many successful AI for Wildlife Challenges as possible

Build a network of partners active in the wildlife preservation niche and bundle their resources

Get the most out of the combined engineering effort by focusing on edge computing, computer vision and tiny ML technology

WHAT AI TECH DO WE FOCUS ON?

Edge Computing

When doing wildlife conservation in remote areas, any machine learning faces a lack of connectivity. You can’t connect to a server to compute object detection from the bush. The computer vision model has to run on the available hardware on edge. Edge computing in machine learning translates into energy-efficient models that are able to do more work independently, without being constantly plugged into the cloud.

Tiny ML

Closely tied to edge computing, tiny ML approaches try to create model miniatures that are not draining batteries or burning one GPUs. It’s very important for a battery-powered poacher-detecting drone flying over South African reserves with patchy connectivity. It tackles some fundamental challenges to machine learning - energy consumption, latency, storage and data security.

Computer Vision

Computer vision is a common use case in machine learning, but applying perception models on edge requires next level AI skills. Our AI for Wildlife engineers have to implement a working MLOps to improve poacher detection and figure out how to coexist with other edge MLs (like autonomous flight functions) under fairly tricky conditions.

AI FOR WILDLIFE CHALLENGES
STARTING SOON
December 4, 2022

AI for Seals Challenge

Develop facial recognition CNN models for non-invasive study of harbor seals and other marine mammals, monitoring their population and movement patterns.
COMPLETED
March 18, 2022

AI for Wildlife Challenge 3

AI for Wildlife 3 is bringing poacher-detecting ML models into production on a wildlife protection drone. In the third challenge of the AI for Wildlife series we’ll be focusing on the elusive concept of MLOps.
COMPLETED
September 14, 2021

AI for Wildlife Challenge 2

Creating a machine learning model for an on-edge detection of poachers on thermal video feed of a wildlife protection drone.
COMPLETED
March 5, 2021

AI for Wildlife Challenge 1

Using AI to help protect wildlife in South Africa. Developing an edge-ready computer vision model to detect poachers on thermal video streams on a fixed wing drone.
THE LAB RESULTS

We get some machine learning work done

  • Detect poachers on thermal vision on edge of a fixed wing drone
  • Do a wildlife sensus using computer vision models on 4k low light RGB aerial footage
  • Find patterns in poacher trace reports by using semi-supervised learning
  • Apply edge ML poacher detection on battery powered camera traps
  • Use audio perception models to identify elephants by their distinctive sounds
  • Develop prediction model for elephant migration based on collar GPS data
  • Automated operation of big game gates near wildlife reserves
SPOTS Robi Beninca launching the flying ranger UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) & Poacher detection running on the thermal video camera footage on edge hardware of the UAV
Results: Watch and read

From our YouTube channel

FOR INDIVIDUALS
How can you participate?

Become a certified AI for Wildlife Engineer

Individual engineers who collaborate in the AI for Wildlife Challenges are trained in edge computing, computer vision, model pruning and other skills essential for the applied AI  projects.

Sign-up at the platform for free and fill your profile. Pick your interests and join corresponding communities. Create a skill tree you’ll be developing with every AI for Good activity.

Start my journey
Upgrade your skills with AI bootcamps & masterclasses

Learn how to apply your acquired AI knowledge in the real world. Join AI for Good challenges and collaborate in teams all over the globe.

Upgrade my skills
FruitPunch AI for Wildlife certificate

Every activity adds to your development. You’ll be accredited with badges for specific hard and soft skills and certifications after an accomplished challenge.

Build my skill tree
AI for Wildlife Skills
Data Engineering
ML Pipelines
Quantization
Scrum
Reinforcement Learning
Tensorflow
Pruning
ONNX
Docker
Edge Computing
Data Augmentation
Object Detection
Unsupervised Methods
Kubernetes
FOR INDIVIDUALS
How can you participate?

Become a certified AI for Wildlife Engineer

Individual engineers who collaborate in the AI for Wildlife Challenges are trained in edge computing, computer vision, model pruning and other skills essential for the applied AI  projects.

Join the community

Sign-up at the platform for free and fill your profile. Pick your interests and join corresponding communities. Create a skill tree you’ll be developing with every AI for Good activity.
Start my journey
Start your personalized learning journey

Participate in a challenge

Join our machine learning focused learning events led by experts collaborating with the AI for Good community. Learn with the pros and from one another.
Join the community platform
FruitPunch AI challenge and skilltree

Get certified

Every activity adds to your development. You’ll be accredited with badges for specific hard and soft skills and certifications after an accomplished challenge.
Get certified
Get your badges and certificates
For Organizations
Solve your challenges!

Challenge Partners

Impact organizations and experts applying the results of the AI for Wildlife Challenges. Do you have a wildlife conservation problem that can be solved with AI? Submit your challenge

Contribute!

Contributing Partners

Use their teams, expertise and resources to advance AI for Wildlife Lab & Challenges. Can your experts or technology contribute to solving an AI for Wildlife Challenge? Partner up! 👇

Get your community involved!

Community Partners

Use their reach to spread the AI for Good news, advocate for AI for Good Lab & Challenges. Do you have a network we could reach out to with AI for Wildlife topics? Connect on Linkedin, Twitter or drop us a note 👇

Come on board the AI for Wildlife Lab!

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