Smart surveillance technology helps protect critically endangered species


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Many species are currently threatened by environmental problems and human activities. To help endangered species survive, technology is increasingly being used as an innovative way to promote sustainability and biodiversity conservation.

Hainan gibbons (Nomascus hainanus) live in the Bawangling National Nature Reserve on Hainan Island, China. They are listed as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with less than ten left in the 1980s.

Over the years of protection, the number of Hainan gibbons has grown to 37 individuals in five populations. Dahua joined in on the Hainan gibbon protection project in 2021, using smart video technology to improve the monitoring efficiency of the reserve and assist in local biodiversity protection.

Monitoring gibbons used to be a challenge

As lifelong arboreal animals, Hainan gibbons are hard to spot in dense forests. “In the beginning, they ran as soon as they saw me,” said Monitor Staff Mr. Zhang. “After a long time, we can gradually ‘communicate’, especially the new-born cubs. We go up and wave every day. After a few years, we got along well and it even came straight to us.”

Being able to monitor gibbons is gratifying but the process is often exhausting. They move fast, sometimes too fast for the naked eye to follow. In order to keep up with the gibbons, monitors often miss meals and suffer from stomach problems. Bad weather, such as rain, thunder and even typhoons, can worsen things.

Smart “eyes” enabled by video technology

The introduction of technology changed all that. The gibbons wandering in the rainforest suddenly saw many new “eyes” popping out one day. They are smart cameras that can quickly identify gibbons and take pictures, allowing monitors to observe these creatures up close without disturbing them. And there is an intelligent “brain” behind it.

With the help of smart cameras, the gibbons appear more clearly on video than previously seen with the naked eye. “The gibbon itself is hard to spot in the trees and they are highly vigilant when approached by people. The camera lens perfectly solved this problem,” said Zhang.

To make it easier for the monitors to “chase” the gibbons, the “brain” behind these “eyes” has undergone a lot of upgrades. Dahua has integrated a highly-sensitive motion algorithm into the smart camera.

The algorithm is trained continuously through the Dahua AI platform to accurately identify and collect images of fast-moving gibbons based on the gibbon’s hair colour, movements, habits, etc., to provide a scientific basis for the study of individuals, populations, age, sex, developmental trends and dynamic changes in habitats of Hainan gibbons.

Dahua’s actions on biodiversity protection

Dahua has been continuously using digital and intelligent technologies to promote sustainability and biodiversity protection on a global scale.

In Schwarze Berge (Black Mountains) Wildlife Park located in Germany, a full series of Dahua innovative cameras equipped with key technologies, such as full colour and thermal imaging, are adopted to help the park monitor the living environment and health status of wild animals at any moment without disturbing them. Meanwhile, it also helps improve the park’s operation and management efficiency. 

Dahua also established a 5G digital monitoring system to help Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve monitor 62 species of wildlife, which provided accurate observation and research assessment of wildlife, ecological types and biodiversity in the reserve, therefore helping protect the species living in the area and its ecological balance.

The intelligent system is able to calculate animal population, analyse their activity patterns, understand their living habits and detect illegal activities in the reserve such as poaching, illegal logging and overgrazing. 

In addition, Dahua entered the Antarctic region for the first time by donating 15 intelligent devices to different local scientific bases. Providing clear images of flora and fauna in the Argentine region of Antarctica is beneficial in the research studies conducted on the continent.

With its mission of “enabling a safer society and smarter living”, Dahua will continue to create value beyond safety through technology and contribute to the harmonious community of humans and nature.

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