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Special software helps to save species
Date:8/2/2011

221.10.254.64

This release is available in German.

The pictures from the video trap are highly encouraging. A strong young male gorilla appears several times in a tree, moving through the forest, at a feeding place. This is a good sign for the park ranger. It indicates that the population in the protected zone is recovering. What he does not know, however, is whether it's the same gorilla each time or various young adults. Knowledge of how many individuals are living in a particular area is vital if these extinction-threatened species are to be more effectively protected. The park rangers therefore spare no effort to obtain reliable figures about the population. They search the forests for feeding and gathering places, read tracks and try to match them to specific individuals. In addition, they spend hours analyzing pictures from video and photo traps a painstaking and time-consuming job, which is also subjective and susceptible to error.

A new software system could soon make things easier for the park rangers by searching through the photos and videos for sequences in which the animals appear and assigning the images to individual gorillas. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institutes for Integrated Circuits IIS and Digital Media Technology IDMT as well as at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology are jointly developing the system in the SAISBECO project.

"The pictures are first filtered to find the ones on which the primates' faces can be seen," explains Alexander Loos from the IDMT in Ilmenau. This task is handled by a detection software program developed by research scientists at the IIS in Erlangen which detects faces on individual pictures as well as on video streams in real time. Loos and his colleagues are currently developing a module that will assign the faces to specific individuals.
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Contact: Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Loos
alexander.loos@idmt.fraunhofer.de
49-367-746-7285
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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