GMERC has been working with Prof. Serge Wich since 2014, and recently expanded this collaboration to include Prof. Steve Longmore and his pioneering work in AstroEcology. Fundamentally, we seek to demonstrate the effective use of drones to detect chimpanzees and eventually, to investigate whether poachers can also be detected. We are also working together to assess feasibility of using a machine learning pipeline (https://conservationai.co.uk/) to automatically detect people in visual spectrum and thermal infrared images acquired from remote sensing devices, e.g. drones and motion triggered cameras. Preliminary results can be found in LJMU alumnus Leonard Hambrecht's paper published in 2019.
Our work on using drones to detect chimpanzee nests was led by Noemie Bonnin and featured on the cover of Drones when it was published in 2018 (left). The results have implications for improving large-scale survey work on chimpanzee distribution, which continues to be an important component of GMERC's efforts in Tanzania.