Can AI and Machine Learning Help Park Rangers Prevent Poaching?
The Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) was created by a coalition of conservation organizations to take historical data and create geospatial mapping tools that enable more efficient deployment of park rangers to prevent poaching. SMART had demonstrated significant improvements in patrol coverage, with some observed reductions in poaching. Then a new analytic tool, the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS), was created to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to try to predict where poachers would be likely to strike. Jonathan Palmer, Executive Director of Conservation Technology for the Wildlife Conservation Society, already had a good data analytics tool to help park rangers manage their patrols. Would adding an AI- and ML-based tool improve outcomes or introduce new problems?