KOLKATA - In 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature said that Africa's elephant population had seen its biggest decrease in 25 years due to increased poaching for ivory. Today, there are just 415,000 elephants across Africa. In an effort to remedy this situation, acoustic sensors backed by artificial intelligence (AI) are collecting large amounts of data for the Elephant Listening Project deep in the jungles of the Republic of Congo.
Researchers are utilizing elephant call data to create more precise and frequent population estimates, track their movements, offer greater security, and identify individual elephants that cannot be seen from the air. Such efforts, which even just a couple of years ago may have felt like a distant possibility, are now helping to alert rangers to poaching and other illegal activities happening in and around the forest cover.
Though AI is undoubtedly aiding in fighting the war against elephant poaching and making it easier to track elephant movements throughout the African continent, tracking human movement is still a difficult task.
Does this mean that there is now a greater possibility of understanding what drives Homo sapiens or other animals to move into new territories, away from their natural habitat? What could be the reason for leaving behind the known comforts of home in favor of striking out into the unknown? One may never know in entirety the story of why people migrate, but can AI take us further down the path toward solving the crisis of climate-induced migration?