Face recognition combats chimp trafficking

Share this on social media:

Since 2005, more than 6,000 great apes have been trafficked illegally from the wild, often bought and sold through the internet and social media platforms. Now, new software called ChimpFace is helping conservationists identify illegal trade in chimpanzees using face recognition, the same type of algorithm that sorts through internet sites for photos of people.

Alexandra Russo developed ChimpFace to flag sites with links to illegal trade in chimpanzees. The scale of chimpanzee trafficking on the internet makes it difficult for conservationists to search manually for individual animals. ChimpFace uses image analysis to automate this process and flag up chimps being traded illegally through social media and other sites.

The algorithm scans the internet for images of chimpanzees; it flags the posts and sends them to conservation experts for review.

Russo and the project team now want to build the algorithm so that it can identify individual chimps. This would allow each animal to be tracked as they are traded online, and a case built against buyers and sellers.

ChimpFace is a finalist of the Conservation X Labs Tech prize. The prize looks for technological solutions to challenges in conservation; round one of the prize ended in December 2018.

Related news

Recent News

11 January 2019

The World Wildlife Fund and Flir Systems are supplying rangers across 10 parks and game reserves in Kenya with thermal imaging cameras in an effort to stop illegal rhino poaching

18 October 2018

Retailers in the US and UK are expected to trial an age verification vision system at checkouts for customers buying age-restricted items

15 October 2018

SLAMcore, a UK developer of Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) algorithms for robots and drones, has raised $5m in funding in order to help it deliver its technology market

11 October 2018

The Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli has built a prototype inspection system to improve quality control during the production of its tyres. Pirelli's Vincenzo Boffa described the system at the European Machine Vision Forum in Bologna, Italy in September