By Jaqueline B. Ramos*
In April 2020, ChimpFace pilot tested its software to detect wildlife trafficking online by deploying an algorithm to detect baby/juvenile chimpanzee faces within publicly available YouTube videos. Pilot testing successfully confirmed the technical feasibility and potential of this approach.
The algorithm showed to have very high precision and a low false-positive rate. The deployment targeted videos tagged with key words associated with the sale of animals (species name, sale, pet, etc.) and automated the detection of chimp faces. The test returned approximately 100 recent videos matching the search parameters, including clear instances of chimpanzee exploitation.
With these tests completed, ChimpFace team celebrates one more step taken and continues to request support for the improvement of this technology, believed to be very helpful to identify, disrupt and help decrease the international online trade in wildlife.
“Using keyword detection and image recognition algorithms for highly trafficked species, ChimpFace will detect illicit posts more accurately and at a much greater scale than current manual search efforts. Intelligence collected will help uncover criminal networks, providing a critical method for significant progress towards targets and commitments outlined in national policies and international conventions”, explains conservationist Alexandra Russo, founder of ChimpFace.
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*Journalist and independent writer at Ambiente-se Comunicação – https://www.ambientesecom.net – and Communications Manager for GAP Project International – https://www.projetogap.org.br. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, currently living in Nagoya, Japan.