A world-first AI-infused cloud-based system that can quickly analyse thousands of aerial photographs of remote beaches in northern Australia to identify evidence of both turtle nests and their predators has been developed by CSIRO, Aak Puul Ngantam (APN) Cape York Indigenous rangers and Microsoft as part of a National Environmental Science Program (NESP) partnership.
In some parts of western Cape York, in far north Queensland, feral pigs can dig up and eat 100 per cent of turtle nest eggs; for the 50km stretch of beach that is the focus of APN’s protection program this represents a loss of around 2,000 baby turtles each year.
Automating and accelerating turtle nest monitoring gives Indigenous rangers the best chance of protecting nests, controlling predators and helping increase the chance of Hawksbill, Flatback and Olive Ridley turtle hatchling survival.
With this system, what normally takes one month of on-the-ground monitoring work can be achieved in just two hours using a helicopter or drone combined with cloud computing and AI.
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