A brief timeline of our history
Alibhai and Jewell started working with the Department of National Parks in Zimbabwe to monitor black rhino across Zimbabwe.
Technology breakthrough #1: Agfa donated four digital cameras to take images of footprints - this allowed us to hugely speed up data collection!
Technology breakthrough #2: JMP software allowed them to visualize data more effectively and identify the factors contributing to reduced fertility rates.
Technology breakthrough #3: Developed the Footprint Identification Technique (FIT) that is able to identify species, individuals, sex and age-class from footprints.
Published three foundational papers 1) Demonstrating that invasive monitoring methods were causing problems with rhino fertility 2) Showed that radio-collars were failing 3) Described how footprints could be used to monitor populations of endangered species.
At the request of other research groups, started working to develop footprint identification for other species.
Won the Smithsonian Computerworld Award in the Environment, Energy and Agriculture.
Conducted fieldwork across 5 continents and published widely on Footprint Technology for a range of species from White rhino in Southern Africa to Amur tiger in China.
WildTrack officially registered as a 501(c)3 in North Carolina, USA.
Relocated to the USA from Europe. Joined the Pimm Lab at Duke University as Adjunct Faculty.
Ethics in wildlife monitoring paper published.
New developments in monitoring technology published.
Started testing the use of Drones for wildlife monitoring. Featured in an Emmy-award winning documentary on WildTrack’s use of traditional ecological knowledge and technology to monitor cheetah.
Started working with the Namibian government to design a footprint identification protocol for monitoring black rhino in the Conservancy program.
Won the 2020 Association for Unmanned Vehicle Services International (AUVSI) XCELLENCE award in the Humanitarian category.
Technology breakthrough #4: AI-powered footprint classification.
Started working with UC Berkeley to design an AI-powered pipeline to automate the identification and classification of footprint images. Won the Hal R. Varian Capstone award for best project.
Featured in TerraX documentary that reached 5 million viewers in Europe.
Started collaborating with Harvard University groups on further development of the AI pipeline.
Won the Otter Oscar award from the International Otter Survival Foundation (IOSF) for a research paper documenting the use of footprint identification technology to identify 3 endangered species of otters using the same habitat.
WildTrackAI app for iOS and Android released in Beta
More things to come!