ChimpFace could help fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees

January 28, 2019 by  
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There is now a new tool that can be used to fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees . The same facial recognition software that social media sites use is now being adapted to recognize trafficked animals, and this algorithm will be used to find the faces of these apes online. For an entire year, the BBC investigated the smuggling of chimpanzees and found that they often end up as performers in commercial zoos or as pets to wealthy owners. Baby chimps are so popular, that they can be sold for as much as $12,500. The idea surged after  conservationist Alexandra Russo was investigating online ape trafficking and came across posts on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram where chimpanzees were being offered for purchase. Related: These AI-powered cameras can sense poachers and save wildlife “We were spending more and more time looking through the depths of the internet; it’s like a rabbit hole. You don’t know where to look, you click around pretty aimlessly until you start to find things that look suspicious. So, I thought there must be a more efficient way to do this,” she explains. “I began discussing the possibility of using some kind of software that could automatically find ape faces in online searches.” Russo then contacted Conservation X Labs, a non-profit group, and met with Dr. Colin McCormick, who is an expert in computer vision. The two ended up creating “ ChimpFace .” The software works by detecting images that show a chimpanzee, and then it identifies the individual.  They trained the algorithm to recognize different chimps using facial structures. Russo says that it is important to get as many images as possible of different positions, facial expressions and altered lighting. The algorithm uses a database of 3,000 different ape face images, and different chimpanzee conservation groups have contributed photos. Experts say that this new technology could help bring down large-scale criminal networks.  Facebook and Instagram are already starting to shut down wildlife trafficker accounts. Via BBC Image via PublicDomainPictures

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ChimpFace could help fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees

The Walking Dead cast speak out against illegal wildlife trade

September 11, 2016 by  
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Wildlife trafficking is serious business – so serious that the cast of AMC’s hit drama The Walking Dead have taken some time away from fighting zombies to film a new nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the illegal trade. An offshoot of the White House National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, the campaign is a collaboration between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the nonprofit organization WildAid. The series of public service announcements will be broadcast on television and social media channels throughout the month.

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The Walking Dead cast speak out against illegal wildlife trade

Green Renovation: Leafy Waterfall-like Faade Transforms a Musty Old Building into a Lush Light-Filled Home

September 11, 2016 by  
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Like in many of Hanoi’s older homes, shutters and security bars closed off the original house from natural light and wind, giving rise to dark and moldy conditions. To open the house back up to daylight and ventilation , the architects knocked down walls to create an airy, open-plan layout and replaced clunky structures such as the concrete staircase and old security fences with slimmer alternatives such as a galvanized steel trellis. In addition to serving as a security precaution, the steel trellis was covered with green climbing plants to add fresh air, provide a privacy screen, and create an attractive green waterfall-like facade to be enjoyed by both residents and passersby. Related: Five-Towered Home Topped with Lush Banyan Trees Pops Up in Vietnam To prevent the common Hanoi problem of rising condensation in humid environs, an air ventilation layer was inserted beneath the raised ground floor. Skylights funnel daylight to the space, where light-colored lumpy marble stone then reflected and diffused the light throughout the interior. The addition of a roof garden protects the building from the harsh West sunlight and provides an area to grow vegetables and flowers. Vo Trong Nghia Architects hope that the Green Renovation’s highly visible and energy-conscious design will serve as a model for greening tropical cities. + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Images via Vo Trong Nghia Architects , © Hiroyuki Oki

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Green Renovation: Leafy Waterfall-like Faade Transforms a Musty Old Building into a Lush Light-Filled Home

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