At the Huawei Cloud Summit 2022 in Rio de Janeiro, the results of the first phase of the Tech4Nature Mexico project were presented, an initiative that seeks to strengthen the conservation of mangroves, jungles and species such as the jaguar, in an important Natural Reserve in Yucatán.
With 20 cameras and 60 acoustic monitoring devices (audiomoths), the biodiversity of the Dzilam de Bravo reserve in Yucatan is continuously monitored to identify species in the region. With Huawei Cloud Artificial Intelligence platforms, the collected data is analyzed to classify and identify jaguars, and other umbrella species.
In the first 3 months of monitoring, more than 19,700 images and more than 170,000 audio recordings have been collected. So far, at least 49 vertebrate species and five jaguars have been detected; two males, one female and two cubs, all this in an area of 19,140 kilometers.
C Minds' project coordinator, Regina Cervera, said that this information will be used to promote the responsible use of technologies to strengthen fair and effective natural protected areas, as well as to generate strategic alliances, the development of effective public policies and the appropriation of the project by local communities.
This initiative is led by C Minds, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the government of Yucatan and Huawei's Tech4All, in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Yucatan, the participation of Rainforest Connection and the partnership with the local community. The project was launched in May 2022 together with the Governor of Yucatan.
Mexico is the first country in Latin America to be part of the global Tech4Nature partnership between IUCN and Huawei's Tech4All, designed to promote fair and effective digital solutions for natural areas. Tech4All, a Huawei initiative, seeks long-term digital inclusion to use technology, applications and skills to empower people and organizations everywhere. Tech4All argues that for the world to grow and develop, everyone has four basic pillars: education, development, health and environment, said Joaquín Saldaña, Strategy and Marketing Director of Huawei Latin America.
Outstanding results of the first phase
The initiative has three phases: in the first phase, the aim is to identify if there is a jaguar in the image; in the second phase, the individual is identified against a database; and in the third phase of the AI analysis, the algorithms will be trained with ecosystem characteristics in order to discern between an important change in the ecosystem, such as the presence or absence of biodiversity.
At the moment, the algorithm developed in ModelArts, Huawei's cloud-based AI tool, together with 64 students from the Polytechnic University of Yucatan (UPY), is 90% effective in detecting jaguars, commented Eduardo Espadas, the Rector of UPY.
Since jaguars are species that move many kilometers, the use of these systems opens the possibility of identifying ecological and behavioral patterns.
A second stage of the algorithm will be able to identify and classify individual jaguars based on their rosette patterns (spots), since jaguar rosettes have a unique pattern, so they are like fingerprints, explained Toshio Yokohama, director of Natural Resources Management and Conservation of the Secretariat of Sustainable Development of the entity, Toshio Yokohama.
The results obtained will provide valuable information on the populations of threatened species in the Reserve and will provide the basis for carrying out strategies to strengthen biodiversity conservation, such as modifying the Reserve's management program with data and technology-based information, promoting the development of biological corridors to connect the jaguar's distribution areas, and potentially integrating community lands as voluntary conservation donation zones.