Poachers’ Capture


The Financial Express

Date Published

Incidences of poaching in the forests of Asia and Africa remain high.
A study by Save the Rhino shows that rhinos killed by poachers had
increased for the sixth year in a row, with at least 1,338 rhinos
killed across Africa in 2015.

Another study indicates that estimated poaching rates in Africa remain
higher than the normal growth rate of elephant populations, meaning
the elephant population overall is likely to have continued to decline
in 2015. While countries have been adopting innovative methods,
including seeking the help of NGOs and local groups to save the
animals, researchers at the University of Southern California have
developed an artificial intelligence software Protection Assistant for
Wildlife Security (PAWS), which uses game theory and mathematical
modelling techniques to help forest rangers increase their chances of
saving wildlife.

PAWS takes into account details of past poaching and the patrol area
to suggest routes which minimise resource-use and maximise poacher
apprehension. The researchers first created PAWS in 2013 and tested
the application in Uganda and Malaysia in 2014 and now are adding
CAPTURE (Comprehensive Anti-Poaching Tool with Temporal and
Observation Uncertainty Reasoning), that predicts attacking
probability even more accurately.

While India has managed to curb poaching to some extent, it can
certainly use the new technology to its advantage. Figures from
Wildlife Protection Society of India indicate 90 tiger-deaths last
year, of which 25 were documented, while 396 leopards died, of which
125 were documented. Figures for elephants and rhinos were no better
with a documented 35 rhinos being poached in 2014 while 21 elephants
were poached.