Last month our research team took down the 132 motion-activated cameras that they had placed out across the Ghanzi commercial ranches as part of a long-term wildlife monitoring exercise. The cameras, which are placed out for three consecutive months every year, monitor changes in wildlife numbers and distribution, and give us a good indication as to whether cheetah populations in the area are increasing, decreasing or stable and also gives us information about other carnivore presences and their prey. For this study alone, the research team retrieved a staggering 1.5 million photos to analyse for the study, to add to the few hundred thousand photos that they already accumulated this year through monitoring of farms and other studies on cheetah behaviour and ecology. Thankfully, help has arrived in the form of newly-developed AI technology and through a new development in photo analysis software, we have sent the photos to the Wageningen University in the Netherlands to trial their automated photo-analysis software. If successful, this approach could save our research team many long and arduous months of manual analysis and can free them up to conduct more on the ground work. Our partnership with the Wageningen University was born out of the acceptance of our Research Coordinator, Michelle Kral, as a PhD candidate. Michelle is working with the university while heading up CCB’s research team, taking a deep dive into conflict with cheetahs in the Kalahari and looking at how habitat and ecology impacts cheetah behaviour and the farmers they live alongside. We are incredibly thankful to the team at Wageningen University for their support and help with our camera trap photo analysis and we wish Michelle all the best of luck in her PhD work.
Leave a Reply.