In a statement Wednesday, Ol Pejeta’s public relations manager, Ms Elodie Sampere, said the “Rhino Finda” app developed by a student, James Ault, is able to analyse thermal imaging footage to automatically identify a poacher moving within the sanctuary for swift response.
She said the app can accurately count all animals, thereby helping the sanctuary save on costs usually incurred in conducting the largely erroneous physical census.
Mr Ault’s app was chosen following a worldwide competition that attracted app submissions from students. The competition was placed on MindSumo.com, an online marketplace that connects college students to companies and other organisations through challenges.
The challenges represent real-world problems that students can help solve to win prizes and potential career opportunities.
Ol Pejeta challenged the college students from around the world to help in the development of recognition software that uses a combination of visual and thermal signatures to identify wildlife automatically.
“Innovation is a natural part of Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s way of enhancing wildlife protection and conservation. As East Africa’s largest black rhino conservancy and home to a host of other endangered species, we are constantly innovating new ways to enhance our work,” Ms Sampere said.