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HomeCosta RicaAI Tool Seeks to Save Costa Rica's Endangered Howler Monkeys

AI Tool Seeks to Save Costa Rica’s Endangered Howler Monkeys

An artificial intelligence initiative in Guanacaste aims to protect endangered howler monkey populations by preventing vehicle and electrocution deaths.

Reserva Conchal, the hospitality division of Fifco in Guanacaste, has partnered with Canada’s McGill University to implement AI-powered conservation efforts. On Wednesday, they presented the first results of this collaboration harnessing innovative data analysis and artificial intelligence.

The project involved creating a mobile app and web platform for reporting howler monkey incidents and accidents. This provides conservation groups real-time crowd-sourced data to identify high-risk areas needing preventative measures.

The AI-powered system instantly generates “heat maps” visualizing the most frequent roads, sites, and types of accidents according to report coordinates. This enables strategically targeting preventative actions to reduce further monkey casualties.

Juan Camilo Serpa, an AI expert, led development seeking a socially impactful application for the technology. The nonprofit Salve Monos Costa Rica, dedicated to protecting howler monkeys, provided input designing the tool.

“Thanks to the application created by McGill students, we can map what happens to wildlife on roads in much greater detail. The app’s accessibility will greatly aid our rescue and prevention work,” said SalveMonos founder Simonetta Danielle.

Based on the AI platform’s results, Reserva Conchal announced an investment of approximately $25,000 to construct monkey overpasses across Guanacaste roads, to be executed in phases.

By 2024, Reserva Conchal plans to back McGill in creating a new “Costa Rica Study Trip” course combining experiential learning and AI applications for sustainability majors. This will explore new data-driven solutions for issues like waste management and biodiversity monitoring.

The AI model provides a promising data-based approach to enhancing protection for Costa Rica’s endangered howler monkeys. The app mobilizes crowd-sourced incident reporting to generate actionable insights and prevent further casualties.

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