WildTrack, a non-profit organization dedicated to non-invasive wildlife monitoring and conservation, was recently awarded a prestigious AUVSI XCELLENCE Humanitarian Award. The organization won for pairing its Footprint Identification Technique (FIT) in JMP software with high-resolution drone imagery captured using senseFly eBee X fixed-wing mapping drones.
The ground-breaking project was recognized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) in the Awards’ Humanitarian and Public Safety category for its innovative use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) in monitoring and protecting endangered species, such as black rhino in Namibia.
Combining the eBee X and its specialized Aeria X high-resolution RGB camera allows the WildTrack team to meet its growing need for fast and non-invasive data collection over harsh and vast terrains.
With the insights obtained, WildTrack is able to contribute towards detailed rhino protection maps for anti-poaching, resource optimization and rhino management. senseFly drone imagery is also facilitating the generation of high-resolution imaging of objects of interest (cryptic ground evidence) on the ground, such as footprint trails and signs of animal and human activity. This allows the team to contribute towards detailed anti-poaching analysis, particularly with the anticipated use of specialist infrared cameras which will enable them to detect illegal poacher activity and rhinos at night.
“Species are becoming extinct at thousands of times pre-human levels. Monitoring and protecting endangered species remains the key to protecting the biodiversity necessary to support humanity on our planet,” says Zoe Jewell, President and Co-Founder at WildTrack. “Not only can our FIT software allow us to identify where species are most at-risk and how to protect them, but it has also helped reduce illegal poaching, improve wildlife security and mitigated human-wildlife conflict. Our technology is also non-invasive, which reduces any risk of virus transmission. However, footprint analysis has historically relied on long hours of fieldwork, which is both time-consuming and subject to human error.”
“We saw an incredible opportunity to incorporate the senseFly’s industry-leading eBee X aircraft into our projects after witnessing the recent revolution in landscape-scale mapping drones and we are proud to have been recognized by AUVSI for our combined efforts”, says Sky Alibhai, Co-Founder of WildTrack. “The innovative intersection of FIT software with drone data capture has already started to change the way essential data are collected, analyzed and shared for better decision-making. This is important when globally, we still have very little reliable data on where endangered species are or how many are left.”
senseFly General Manager Troy Hittle adds: “In such a landmark project, the learnings and insights gathered using the senseFly eBee X have no doubt proven invaluable to the WildTrack team, helping them to monitor and protect endangered species more efficiently and without causing them harm. We’re absolutely delighted to play a part in that. We understand the need to help protect biodiversity around the world, and we’re delighted that their commitment and passion has been recognized with the AUVSI XCELLENCE award.”