National Geographic: You can now hear rainforest sounds worldwide—here’s why that matters

National Geographic: You can now hear rainforest sounds worldwide—here’s why that matters. “Gorillas beating their chests, chimpanzees pant-hooting, elephants rumbling—and poachers firing assault rifles—these are some of the more than a million hours of sounds recorded by a grid of 50 microphones in the Congolese rainforest since 2017. The massive acoustic monitoring effort covers about 480 square miles in the Republic of Congo’s Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park—an area about the size of Los Angeles. It’s part of Cornell University’s Elephant Listening Project, established in 1999 to detect communication among forest elephants and pinpoint poaching activity.”

Ubergizmo: AI Used To Predict Where Poachers Might Show Up Next

Ubergizmo: AI Used To Predict Where Poachers Might Show Up Next. “The system uses data pulled from the SMART platform that was originally developed by the World Wildlife Foundation. This platform helps to suggest the most efficient routes based on the theory of security games. So far, the system has proved itself to be pretty accurate with its predictions. In a trial conducted in 2014, the rangers found that areas that the AI predicted as having a higher risk of poachers resulted in more snares being found, versus areas that the PAWS AI deemed as lower risk.”

PBS: The 21st Century Threat to Wildlife is “Cyberpoaching”

PBS: The 21st Century Threat to Wildlife is “Cyberpoaching”. “The illegal wildlife trade has transformed with the growth and accessibility of the internet. Animals that used to be sold in physical markets are now sold by anonymous online vendors. As a result, a largely unregulated online market allows criminal enterprises to sell illegally acquired wildlife products, and transport them around the world. The consumer-to-consumer marketplace has made buying shark fins, pangolin scales, and rhino horns as easy as click, pay, ship.”

Associated Press: Body parts from threatened wildlife widely sold on Facebook

Associated Press: Body parts from threatened wildlife widely sold on Facebook. “Facebook is displaying advertisements for well-known American corporations on group pages operated by overseas wildlife traffickers illegally selling the body parts of threatened animals, including elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger teeth. In a secret complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, wildlife preservation advocates allege that Facebook’s failure to stop illicit traders using its service for illegal activity violates the social network’s responsibilities as a publicly traded company.”

NPR: 21 Tech Companies Band Together Against Wildlife Trafficking

NPR: 21 Tech Companies Band Together Against Wildlife Trafficking. “The Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, organized by Google and the World Wildlife Fund, was announced Wednesday morning. It includes companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, eBay, Facebook, Instagram and Microsoft, and they’re pledging to ‘work together to collectively reduce wildlife trafficking across platforms by 80% by 2020.’”

Phys .org: AI computer vision breakthrough IDs poachers in less than half a second

Phys .org: AI computer vision breakthrough IDs poachers in less than half a second. “Thousands of animals including elephants, tigers, rhinos, and gorillas are poached each year. Researchers at the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society have long been applying AI to protect wildlife. Initially, computer scientists were using AI and game theory to anticipate the poachers’ haunts, and now they have applied artificial intelligence and deep learning to spot poachers in near real-time.”

The Guardian: Rhinoceros DNA database successful in aiding poaching prosecutions

The Guardian: Rhinoceros DNA database successful in aiding poaching prosecutions. “A large database of rhinoceros DNA is successfully being used to prosecute poachers and those trading rhino horns, new research has revealed. While numbers of the southern white rhino – the only wild subspecies of white rhino in Africa – have grown to about 20,000, fewer than 5,500 black rhinos are thought to exist in the wild, and both species are affected by poaching.”

Motherboard: How to Scrub GPS Data from Your Photos

Motherboard: How to Scrub GPS Data from Your Photos. “So you want to help protect wildlife and scrub the GPS data that might be embedded in your photos? Great! First, know that when you upload an image to a majority of popular social media sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), the EXIF data (where location info can hide) is automatically deleted. ‘But Asia,’ you say, ‘Who knows if they’re actually deleting the data. I have to nuke the EXIF myself. It’s the only way to be sure.’ You’ve convinced me with that Aliens reference. Here’s a brief, non-comprehensive walkthrough to make sure your images are squeaky clean.”

Unnatural Surveillance: How Online Data Is Putting Species at Risk (Yale)

Yale Environment 360: Unnatural Surveillance: How Online Data Is Putting Species at Risk. “The burgeoning pools of digital data from electronic tags, online scientific publications, ‘citizen science’ databases and the like – which have been an extraordinary boon to researchers and conservationists – can easily be misused by poachers and illegal collectors. Although a handful of scientists have recently raised concerns about it, the problem is so far poorly understood.”

Poachers Using Science Papers To Find Targets?

And in today’s “This is absolutely horrible” feature, poachers are apparently using science papers to target new species. “…earlier this year, an announcement in the Zootaxa academic journal that two new species of large gecko had been found in southern China contained a strange omission: the species’ whereabouts. ‘Due to the popularity of this genus as novelty pets, and recurring cases of scientific descriptions driving herpetofauna to near-extinction by commercial collectors, we do not disclose the collecting localities of these restricted-range species in this publication,’ the paper said.”