Outwitting poachers with artificial intelligence

IMAGE: Researchers collect information for the design of PAWS in a protected area for a trial patrol. view more Credit: Rob Pickles, Panthera A century ago, more than 60,000 tigers roamed the wild. Today, the worldwide estimate has dwindled to around 3,200. Poaching is one of the main drivers of this precipitous drop. Whether killed for skins, medicine or trophy hunting, humans have pushed tigers to near-extinction. The same applies to other large animal species like elephants and rhinoceros that play unique and crucial roles in the ecosystems where they live. Human patrols serve as the most direct form of protection of endangered animals, especially in large national parks. However, protection agencies have limited resources for patrols. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Army Research Office, researchers…

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