Working on strategies for the benefit of people, wildlife, habitat, coexistence

Tiger in the night, LeopardEye at work…

Sent in real time, our monitors went to work, villagers were alerted to stay out of the area as the big cat roamed close to settlements. Conflict is avoided. Please read on to understand WildTiger’s work using LeopardEye.

Conservation Technology has in recent years become increasingly important as a factor to understand, monitor and protect wildlife and habitat. LeopardEye is our key tool within that thinking with the added caveat that to protect wildlife there has to be a strong emphasis on the safety of people as human-wildlife coexistence challenges increase.

Human-wildlife conflict is one the most pressing conservation issues facing biodiversity health. WildTiger’s focus using LeopardEye is currently on three species in South Asia where serious conflict results in human fatalities and can result in retaliation killings. Livestock depredation and crop raiding are also serious issues leading to retaliation underlying the dynamic that human livelihood comes under the safety umbrella.

The three species are leopard, tiger and elephant.

We invite you to read below to further understand LeopardEye as well as visiting the Substack of WildTiger coordinator Jack Kinross HERE to get his personal take on LeopardEye and the direction being taken. You can also interact with Jack through Mission Leopard where there are strong developments in the ways you can help being announced through April 2024.

LeopardEye is built on the philosophy of real time alert systems which enable people living in conflict zone areas to be warned of the presence of the species named above. In the image above conservationists Sushila and Manju of the Community Based Poaching Unit in the buffer zone surrounding Bardiya National Park in west Nepal, test technology we current deploy in conjunction with supporter and partner Wildlife Protection Solutions (WPS) in a beta situation. We thank WPS for their ongoing guidance and also express our gratitude to the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund (KACF) for their vital support during the development phase. We now rely on public support through the vehicle of Mission Leopard at wildleopard.net.

LeopardEye uses a range of technologies depending on circumstance which include level of threat, location and network capabilities. Currently we rely on 4G networks with development in progress for the use of satellites and long range radio wave capability (LoRa). We’ll update on these developments when appropriate.

We now deploy LeopardEye from the lowland plains of the Terai in Nepal right up to 4000m in the Himalaya with developing projects in northern India underway. LeopardEye while having a strong technical component also has central to its core community engagement, the practice of those living with leopards, tigers and elephants having real time warning and involvement with the warning process. The image below is part of the story which gave rise to this element of the philosophy of LeopardEye.

The image was taken by a remote camera stationed at about 1100m elevation on the northern boundary of Bardiya National Park and the buffer zone where just a few days before a woman had tragically been killed by a leopard. By receiving the image in real time and sending out alerts to the community their safety was ensured by making sure that no one entered the area for at least 24 hours while we monitored using the technology. It was the community’s highly positive response to our efforts that gave encouragement we were on the right path whereby technical intervention and community engagement could combine. Unfortunately the advent of the covid-19 pandemic slowed progress but we continued development as best we could.

Fast forward to now, March 2024, with big improvements in 4G connectivity and robust hardware developments, we’re now in a position of confidence to roll out LeopardEye to a wide scale. As mentioned, we are deploying in human-wildlife conflict highly affected areas which are also bases for further testing and development. In conjunction with the early warning approach there are two other key elements we are developing and currently testing.

The first is highlighted in the video above showing a light system using motion detection sensors being used to deter a male leopard from entering a human settlement. Other sensor activated deterrents include sirens and other audio which can be set off at detection automatically or manually by human resource in live monitoring situations.

This type of deterrence ties in with second element we are working on and this is the use of artificial intelligence to help identify problematic animals based on collected evidence in growing datasets. Individual ID has long been a laborious task for leopard, tiger and elephant so these advances will ensure much greater efficiency in human-wildlife conflict mitigation. We’ll update on progress in mid April as the rapid rate of development in AI tools and other technical applications continues.

The specifics of the relationships of people with wildlife namely, the leopard, tiger and elephant, will be expanded on during the site rebuild and beyond.

LeopardEye is also implemented in a separate technical use in WildTiger’s platform #AntiSnare which is conducted in partnership with authorized counter poaching and trafficking agencies.

About WildTiger

Engage with WildTiger Coordinator Jack Kinross at Mission Leopard where you can also give valuable support for LeopardEye.

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