When you look at statistics of endangered species, you’ll be frustrated, to say the least. It is estimated that between 200 and 2000 species go extinct every day. However, there are those of us who have not given up hope and are working on innovative solutions to help turn the tide. There are many approaches for us to support conservationists, and we will look at a couple of the most interesting ones of my choosing.
Outwitting poachers with innovative technology
The tragic story of Northern White Rhinos began with setting the high price for their horns and eventually progressed to a situation where today there are only two female rhinos, both incapable of natural reproduction. It resulted in a rising array of partnerships that brought technologists and conservationists together to fight to save biodiversity from extinction. A team of zoologists and veterinarians are using cutting-edge technologies to create rhino embryos in the hopes of implanting them in related species.
Meanwhile, a consortium of technology experts is working to prevent this violence from spreading further. Poachers are supposed to be combated in the future by using a predictive AI application that analyzes large amounts of data before using machine learning, game theory, and mathematical simulation. Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS) is a system that analyzes data to assess where poachers are most likely to operate, as well as the best routes for park rangers to use. Using this AI-based technology resulted in five times more poaching traps being discovered, according to empirical findings.
Wildchain’s mobile game
With an idea that you should “Play your part”, which is also their slogan, Wildchain has set up a non-profit organization to inspire individuals as well as organizations to encourage conservation. They’ve developed a smartphone game with a few core features making it a genuinely innovative attempt to conserve biodiversity. By adopting a digital animal, you can virtually raise and take care of a wild pet of your own. It’s all about simulation between the digital and real world. Any digital animal has its equivalent in the physical world, which means that if you take good care of your digital animal, its real-life counterpart will be treated the same way.
How does the game work?
The game begins with a magic egg hatching a digital animal. Each animal has a digital identity certificate that is activated by a block-chain-based token and ensures the scarcity of virtual currency. According to the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, there are 35.500 species threatened with extinction worldwide. Every animal on that list has a digital twin that you’re supposed to take care of just by playing the game. For example, if there are only 40 white antelopes left in the world, there will be 40 digital white antelopes in the game available for adoption.
If you grow a tree in a game, Wildchain will plant a tree in real life, reducing your carbon footprint as well. Their tree planting partners employ local farmers to plant trees that provide them a steady livelihood to provide for their families. It is no surprise why many have embraced this wildlife conservation initiative, as it is a genuinely refreshing and noble innovation.
This whole project was crowdsourced through UpLink, the WEF’s Crowdsourcing platform for independent innovators introducing environmental solutions to biodiversity experts. The next milestone was to collect enough funding to implement Wildchain’s idea - they headed to Kickstarter, and showed that their idea was worthwhile when the proposal was 100% funded in 30 hours.
In addition to technological advancements, crowdsourcing networks are having a huge effect on the development of innovation. That means there really are potential geniuses among us, and all we need to do is give them an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. Discover how much creative energy your innovation crowd has by using Innovation Cloud Crowdsourcing plug-in and do it for a good cause.