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University Of Wyoming Team Creates Computer Model To Identify Animals In Images

Valentin Panzirsch

University of Wyoming researchers have created a computer model that can identify animals in images taken by camera traps.

Western Ecosystems Technology's data scientist Mikey Tabak said camera traps give ecologists important information without disturbing wildlife.

"Camera traps could be used in all kinds of studies [like] looking for threatened or endangered species," he said. "In general, as ecologists, we do a whole lot of different wildlife studies where we go out in the field, and we look and see what's there."

He said the problem with the cameras is the large number of images.

"When you have a camera trap out there, it's motion-activated, and so you end up getting millions of images and trying to process all of those images can take a really long time," said Tabak. "So what we wanted to do was create a deep learning model that would automatically recognize the species in those camera trap images."

He said the model will make it easier for ecologists to use the data from camera traps all over North America.

Have a question about this story? Please contact the reporter, Ashley Piccone, at apiccone@uwyo.edu

Ashley is a PhD student in Astronomy and Physics at UW. She loves to communicate science and does so with WPM, on the Astrobites blog, and through outreach events. She was born in Colorado and got her BS in Engineering Physics at Colorado School of Mines. Ashley loves hiking and backpacking during Wyoming days and the clear starry skies at night!
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