We are working with several nature reserves and NGOs to do joint research on bird detection. Their locations are very different, and the animals they want to monitor are not the same. There is one thing in common: they are keen to use new technology. They are interested in using cameras and AI to detect wildfires and wildlife.
We partnered with WWF Hong Kong to set up a PTZ (pan-til-zoom) visual camera at Mai Po Nature Reserve. The camera is sending images to our LookOut AI platform to detect birds.
For a relatively small city Hong Kong has an incredibly rich biodiversity, especially in the wetlands. Under the management of WWF Hong Kong, Mai Po Nature Reserve has become an iconic wetland for Hong Kong and South China – providing food and habitat for over 60,000 birds from more than 400 species each year, including the endangered black-faced spoonbill, Saunders’ gull, and Nordmann’s greenshank.
Alongside the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar sites, the reserve is home to various types of local wildlife including aquatic fauna, insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and mammals.
The reserve also includes inter-tidal mangroves along with 24 traditionally operated shrimp ponds (called Gei Wai in Cantonese) to provide food for the birds. Mai Po Nature Reserve receives some 32,000 visitors annually.
The PTZ video camera and our LookOut AI platform detect birds every day. The initial research result is promising. The system detects more birds recently as more migratory birds come to Hong Kong for their winter holidays. The camera setup helps build a digital record of the migratory birds.
The 400 bird species are distributed unevenly among the 24 shrimp ponds. To capture more and better bird images, we explore using our LookOut Cam app. LookOut Cam app turns an Android phone into an image-capturing device for our LookOut AI detection platform. We used old phones to reduce our equipment costs. It reduces e-waste too. A 5-year-old smartphone is too slow for the metaverse, but it is still a very good camera for the nature environment.
We select several shrimp ponds to put smartphones to detect birds. It is a very interesting experiment. We will deploy similar setup in other locations and get more user feedback. We are excited to review the early results in the coming months and share with you the performance. Stay tuned.