Is it black with white stripes, or white with black stripes?
While that debate continues, what matters the most is that those stripes are like human finger prints, each pattern is unique to the individual. The ability to identify individual zebras when combined with information from herdsman and other environmental data may actually save the Grevy’s zebra from extinction.
Every 20 minutes, the world adds another 3,500 human lives, but loses one or more entire species of animal or plant life — at least 27,000 species per year.
Fewer than 2,500 Grevy’s Zebras, also know as the imperial zebra are left in the wilds of Kenya and Ethiopia. Hunting and destruction of habitat are the two leading causes of the dramatic reduction in numbers over the past decade. The UK’s Marwell Wildlife wants to change those numbers and is turning to a rather unusual partner for zebra conservation –IBM analytics software.
With the numbers of Grevy’s zebra declining rapidly the ability to understand what is happening to the animals in the wild is critical to their long term survival. Marwell Wildlife is conducting an innovative research program that combines the input and insights from herders on animal behavior and environmental conditions, aerial surveys, camera traps and radio collars.
Using predictive analytics, Marwell is able analyze this vast amounts of diverse information collected, spotting trends and patterns as they emerge. The result is a more detailed understanding of the challenges the zebras face and ultimately the ability to identify the threats to the species and make more educated decisions on conservation resources and funding.
Kenya’s northern rangelands are home to an array of endangered and migratory wildlife, including African wild dogs, elephants and the largest contiguous population of Grevy’s zebra in existence, all living alongside human pastoralist communities. This close proximity can pose threats to wildlife as competition for water and grazing resources, habitat degradation and poaching can occur. IBM predictive analytics software is helping Marwell achieve the necessary broad-scale approaches to biodiversity conservation that take into account the needs of people and wildlife alike.
The Marwell Wildlife story is just one example of how organizations around the world are using analytics to unlock the power of their data. During day 8 at the IBM Summit at Start attendees will investigate how we can start to tap into the full potential of information and analytics for projects like Marwell that help build a smarter more sustainable planet.