Big Data and Analytics can help India and the world in tiger conservation: Part I

According to the last tiger census, the number of big cats in India has increased by more than 30 per cent in the past four years. The study put the number at 2,226, up from 1,706 in 2010 when the last such tiger-counting exercise was undertaken. For decades, tiger numbers had been declining due to several factors including poaching, man-nature conflict, environmental degradation, and dwindling habitat.

“For the first time after decades of constant decline, tiger numbers are on the rise. This offers us great hope and shows that we can save species and their habitats when governments, local communities and conservationists work together,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

This remarkable development is evidence of what human perseverance together with real-time intelligence and technology can achieve. It is the victory of modern technology such as Big Data, Analytics and Internet of Things (IoT). The twenty-first century tiger and environment conservation has capitalized, leveraged and adapted new technology such as wireless Internet, global telecommunication systems, Cloud computing, online mapping and smart phones. These technologies have teamed up with existing tools such as geographic information systems (GIS), satellite imagery and animal tracking collars.

Such technologies have also minimized human–wildlife conflicts in rural communities by linking mobile phone connectivity to animal tracking telemetry and remote cameras to allow affordable, high resolution monitoring of species.maxresdefault1

Big Data and Analytics can combine forces to rescue tigers

Data captured through satellite images and camera-trap photos and aerial surveillance cameras run into millions, impossible for human beings to analyze. According to one estimate, World Wildlife Fund for Nature staff captured 2.5 million camera-trap photos in 15 protected areas in rainforests around the world. Analyzing such data is a humongous and time-consuming task. Quick decisions in critical situations warrant fast analysis of the structured and unstructured data. This is where Big Data Analytics comes into the picture.

Big data analytics examines such large data sets to uncover hidden patterns and unknown correlations, leading to interpretation and communication of meaningful conclusions and results. Analytics uses several other forms of unconventional data such as social media content and social network activity reports, emails and survey responses, mobile-phone call detail records and machine data captured by sensors connected to the animals.

To Be Continued…

I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @muqbil_ahmar and LinkedIn.


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