#Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge: Our Favourites from 2019

Happy World Wildlife Day! To celebrate, this week we've asked our community to share photos showing how they are using tech in the field or the lab, using the #Tech4Wildlife hashtag

Date published: 2019/03/03

This is our fourth year celebrating World Wildlife Day with the #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge. Every year, we discover new people and projects who are pushing technology to provide better tools to help us understand, monitor and protect our natural world.

This year, we’ve seen more than 150 photos and videos shared showing all the ways you’re using #tech4wildlife. Early entries included acoustic tracking of endangered hawksbill sea turtles in Ecuador, camera traps watching snow leopards in Mongolia, and 3D cameras mounted on drones filming river dolphins in the Amazon. This year, entries into our challenge have been shared 1,001 times, received 4,195 likes and reached 520,000 people. We've collated all this year's entries into a Twitter Moment, so click through below to have a browse through all the entries and conversations we saw spring up around this year's challenge. 

Tech4wildlife 2019 Moment

Our #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge culminates every year with our countdown of our top ten favourites on World Wildlife Day. Check out the fantastic entries that took out honours in this year's challenge. 

10. Opening our #tech4wildlife countdown is Wildlife Insights. This is a project we're watching with interest - a collaboration across six conservation organisations and Google to build a camera trap platform for easy uploads and sharing to unite data around the world.

9. The UCL ExCiteS team are next, with their #tech4wildlife work to give local communities the tools to collect and share their own data about wildlife. And we particularly appreciate that they included the github respository if you want to find out more. 

8. Adrian Hughes and the RSPB Science team are using all sorts of #tech4wildlife. They're working with Microsoft_Green to find more efficient ways to sort through camera trap data, in this case from their Gola rainforest project.

Other projects shared by RSPB Science this year include their work using pit tags and loggers to monitor nesting birds, and a pile of colourful collars for grazing patterns and animal welfare on a number of reserves

7. USAID Manila is using #tech4wildlife to track pangolins and learn more about the ecology of this endangered species. Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked mammal, with more than one million pangolins poached in the past decade. #worldwildlifeday

6. Open Wild takes out #tech4wildlife sixth place with their acoustic bio-loggers with 3D printed casings. They built their own acoustic loggers using off-the-shelf hardware, and intend to make the design open source after they've finished testing

Before we share our #tech4wildlife top five, a few honourable mentions...

Honourable Mention: Álvaro García Olaechea who shared a camera trapping project, but focused on the excitement he shares with workers and family when they look through photos together to find what animals have been captured.

Honourable Mention: Wetlands International for their #tech4wildlife capacity building work with local stakeholders in Senegal. Tech alone won't lead to improved conservation outcomes, we need to invest in training and ongoing support alongside tech deployment.

Honourable Mention: Boxfish Research for some incredible images captured with an ROV under the sea ice at McMurdo Sound, Antartica. We're keen to learn more the boxfish ROV and it's applications, so stay tuned!

5. Roland Kays takes out fifth spot in our #tech4wildlife countdown. His project with Martin Wikelski, Jacob Hill and Rob Dunn on a new and improved cat tracker to see how much pet cats hunt native species generated a lot of interest and discussion.

4. Claire Burke is next, with her work using machine learning, thermal cameras and drones to find and monitor endangered animals automatically.

Want to find out more? 

  • Astro-ecology has a home page here (papers near the bottom too).
  • A citizen science project here.
  • And a few online articles for good measure

3. Taking out third place in our #tech4wildlife countdown is Equilibrio Azul, who are using acoustic trackers to monitor critically endangered hawksbill seaturtle hatchlings in Machalilla National Park, Ecuador. A big part of why we run the #tech4wildlife photo challenge is to encourage people to share and connect about what they're doing with technology - unknowingly replicating effort/projects and starting from scratch unnecessarily is a big challenge in conservation tech.

Which is why we loved seeing all the questions come in about Equilibrio Azul's project. This included Sergio Reyes, who is working with turtles in the Colombian Pacific and is interested in using bioacoustics.

We're interested to hear whether anything comes out of this connection, so please do keep us posted!

2. In second place in #tech4wildlife 2019 is Defenders of Wildlife, who pilot new databases and applications to easily educate, discover and share valuable information about endangered species. 

Compared to thermal imagining of rhinos, camera traps at the top of trees, or ROVs under the antarctic ice, the #tech4wildlife Defenders of Wildlife shared was relatively unassuming. But simple #tech4wildlife is often the most effective.

Defenders of Wildlife shared neat videos of their apps at work. This one used satellite images on & from Google Earth EarthOutreach, allowing users to run machine learning algorithms to detect changes used for wildlife conservation 

1. This year, World Wildlife Day is celebrating life in the world’s oceans, so it's fitting that our top #tech4wildlife honour is taken out by Regina Eisert with her incredible photos from her work in Antarctica.

Her photos are incredible, but the #tech4wildlife is equally interesting. Regina went on to share that with the help of @antzkiwi, they built a multi-media whale trap combining acoustic monitoring with surface and underwater camera traps.

Regina's team work off the sea ice in McMurdo Sound, which provides really good conditions for setting 'whale traps'. Stable sea ice, lots of whales, and water as clear as gin (her words).

Regina Eisert wrapped up her #tech4wildlife entry with this beautiful video of a minke whale captured under the ice with their whale trap.

Congratulation Regina, and to everyone who joined us for the #Tech4Wildlife Photo Challenge 2019! It's been phenomenal to discover so many new people and projects using #tech4wildlife in unexpected ways.

We'll see you back here next year for the fifth annual #Tech4wildlife Photo Challenge. Launching 26th February, 2020. We can't wait!