Protect with tech
Red-bellied lemurs are classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Vulnerable. Their greatest threats are rainforest destruction, hunting, and the live animal trade. Habitat destruction has led to declining reproductive rates, contributing to the lemurs' declining population. They are also vulnerable to climate change, which appears to be driving populations to higher altitudes.
LemurID harnesses facial recognition tools to identify individual red-bellied lemurs throughout Eastern Madagascar, allowing researchers and conservationists to observe and track them noninvasively across space and time. This technology will allow red-bellied lemur populations to be monitored for changes over time and in the face of ongoing threats. An important aspect of LemurID is that it is available to the public, enhancing the experiences of those who observe lemurs while allowing them to contribute to lemur conservation.
The LemurID application will ultimately be available for download on a mobile device, giving users ease of access to identify and study red-bellied lemur individuals. Updates will be provided through our website.
With the mobile app, the user can take a photo of the lemur subject and submit it for analysis. Using machine learning facial recognition, the app will feed the image through our databases and return the lemur's identity, additional photos, and demographic information.
This project was developed by Drs. Stacey Tecot and Rachel Jacobs, primatologists and biological anthropologists, in conjunction with University of Arizona’s Eller Tech Core. It continues previous work published by members of our team in 2017.
Tech Core helps identify individual red-bellied lemurs in Madagascar with cloud-based machine learning harnessed through a mobile application. These facial recognition algorithms can help researchers identify and track red-bellied lemurs in their natural habitat without tranquilizing and capturing them. This noninvasive procedure enables researchers to enhance their learning about red-bellied lemurs and their populations over time.
You can find out more about the research behind this initiative here:
Lemurs in Madagascar are facing extinction, and we hope to help lemur species conservation with our technology. Our long-term research of red-bellied lemurs and the development of our technology is made possible with support from the University of Arizona Research, Discovery, and Innovation Faculty Seed Grant, IDEA WILD, the Rowe/Wright Foundation, and the University of Arizona School of Anthropology. Future funds will be used to improve machine accuracy, develop both online and offline capabilities, elevate our research, and generally contribute to the safety and conservation of red-bellied lemurs. Our team is actively pursuing grant support, as security for future funds is critical for this project.
If you'd like to help, you can donate to this research here, with 'LemurID' in the fund designation box.