Jorge Ahumada, Executive Director, TEAM Network
One of the biggest challenges associated with protecting endangered animals is documenting their population numbers and gaining accurate information about their status. Automated cameras are needed to monitor conditions and capture data about what takes place, but sorting through the cameras’ images is an enormous undertaking. Conservation International works in protected areas globally where it deploys 60 camera trap points per protected area and leaves them at a location for about 30 days. With this effort, the cameras snap between 20,000 and 40,000 images. The technical challenge is analyzing the huge volume of data collected by the cameras and sensors and obtaining accurate animal counts and extent of area occupied. A significant hurdle exists in trying to process all the data with a limited IT infrastructure – something the staff have had to tackle manually.
Using Wildlife Picture Index Analytic System, a custom software solution, Conservation International sorts through the data, identifies patterns, and generates statistical models. To enhance image and data processing capabilities, the organization uses statistical modeling to generate animal population data based on the geometric mean of specific species.
Conservation International is now able to sort through the data and get to meaningful results more quickly. Currently, the organization uses a single dashboard to conduct simulations and explore visualizations in order to better understand trends and conditions. It also aids policymakers and others in developing and managing wildlife and ultimately benefits millions of people who depend on tropical forests for their livelihoods. The data-driven approach has produced valuable results, and the organization now has an IT infrastructure that allows resources to be used more effectively to accomplish its mission.