WWF Collaboration: Vodafone’s m-Twiga Initiative Marks Milestone in Conservation Efforts

WWF Collaboration: Vodafone’s m-Twiga Initiative Marks Milestone in Conservation Efforts

(IN BRIEF) In the heart of Africa, where wildlife and communities coexist, Vodafone, in collaboration with Safaricom and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), is spearheading a technological solution to address human-wildlife conflict. The innovative AI-powered system, dubbed m-Twiga after the Swahili word for giraffe, harnesses Internet of Things (IoT) and AI technology to provide communities with early warnings of wildlife presence and deploy deterrents when necessary. Tested in Kenya’s Mara Siana Community Conservancy, m-Twiga utilizes 360-degree cameras and AI algorithms to detect and identify animals, triggering SMS alerts to wildlife rangers and activating deterrent measures such as flashing lights and sounds. This pioneering initiative aims to mitigate conflict and promote peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife, with plans for further development and deployment following successful testing. Beyond wildlife conservation, Vodafone’s partnership with WWF extends to other biodiversity challenges, showcasing technology’s role in protecting the planet, from minimizing whale entanglements to promoting mobile device recycling through initiatives like One Million Phones for the Planet.

(PRESS RELEASE) BERKSHIRE, 5-June-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — Africa boasts some of the world’s most extraordinary wildlife, including majestic lions, elusive leopards, and towering elephants. Yet, for communities residing near these animals’ habitats, challenges often arise.

Human-wildlife conflict arises when animals and humans encroach upon each other’s territories or vie for the same resources, leading to adverse outcomes. Tragic examples include wild animals attacking humans, damaging crops, or preying on livestock, frequently resulting in retaliatory measures against the animals. The pervasive effects of climate change and the continual reduction of habitats exacerbate this situation.

However, there’s hope on the horizon with the integration of connected technology. In collaboration with Safaricom and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Vodafone has pioneered an innovative AI-powered solution aimed at providing communities with early warnings and deterrents to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Following successful trials at the renowned Longleat Safari Park in the UK, the team recently conducted its maiden field test in Kenya. According to WWF Kenya, over 60% of the nation’s wildlife inhabit communities and private lands outside of protected areas, where incidents of human-wildlife conflict are most prevalent.

Promoting Harmony with Nature

Dubbed “m-Twiga,” after the Swahili word for giraffe, this groundbreaking solution merges Internet of Things (IoT) and AI technologies. Developed in collaboration with WWF, m-Twiga underwent field testing at Kenya’s Mara Siana Community Conservancy.

m-Twiga comprises a 360-degree camera system that utilizes AI to detect and identify animals in the vicinity. Upon detecting an animal, the system triggers an alert via SMS to notify wildlife rangers of the animal’s presence and activates deterrent measures such as flashing lights or specific sounds to repel the animal.

The evaluation of m-Twiga in Kenya has provided the development team with a wealth of data on animals in their natural habitat, enhancing the AI model’s ability to swiftly and effectively identify them.

Harnessing Technology for Environmental Protection

Upon the completion of testing in Kenya, the collaborative efforts of Vodafone, Safaricom, and WWF will focus on further refining the m-Twiga solution.

Additionally, the partnership with WWF extends beyond addressing human-wildlife conflict. IoT technology has been leveraged to tackle various biodiversity challenges, including the installation of infrared cameras along South Africa’s southwest coast to reduce whale entanglements in mussel farming ropes. Furthermore, the collaboration encompasses initiatives like “One Million Phones for the Planet,” which promotes mobile device recycling, underscoring the commitment to environmental stewardship through innovative technological solutions.

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SOURCE: Vodafone Group


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