Artificial intelligence accelerating environmental protection

About This Project

BAF is supporting the team at to develop new technological solutions for environmental conservation and provide STEM opportunities to local communities.

Together we are partnering with coastal Taranaki hapu and Okato based Drone Technologies NZ to improve the health of Taranaki’s unique coastal beach ecosystems.

Taranaki’s coastal beaches make an important contribution to New Zealand’s biodiversity as breeding grounds for endangered birds and providing ecosystems for other important shore and sea species.   However, the majority of beach clean up efforts tend to take place along beaches near more populous locations such as New Plymouth so we do not have a good understanding of the scale of plastic pollution on our coastal beaches or the impact it is having.

Our project will develop a new algorithm that will enable drone based assessments of coastal beaches identifying not just the scale of plastic pollution, but also the ability to identify the type of plastic on these beaches. This information will enable a series of flow on activities:

  1. Highlight beaches with significant plastic pollution as a catalyst for hapu led beach clean-up responses;
  2. Map the types of plastic being found on these beaches to enable targeted recycling / repurposing initiatives to be developed to ensure the plastic does not end up on landfill;
  3. Monitor biodiversity levels along targeted beaches identifying the impact of reducing plastic pollution in this fragile environment. is a charitable trust based in New Plymouth that uses artificial intelligence to accelerate wildlife conservation. The trust is dedicated to developing new technology for ecological monitoring and assessment. The automation of identifying individual animals or species in thousands of images and sounds facilitates more effective species conservation efforts.

Community involvement and education are key facets of’s approach. The trust organises wānanga, community events, seminars and educational activities where participants learn about the uses, advantages and limitations of artificial intelligence.’s unique approach ensures that the skill sets required to build and maintain the technology are passed on to the local communities, organisations, and agencies involved so they maintain ownership, accountability and kaitiakitanga. uses open-source technologies that are freely available and can be adapted or scaled easily to new applications. Local communities, iwi, conservation practitioners, and educators are encouraged to get in touch with the team and explore ways to increase environmental sustainability. An over view of the work of can be found at this link wildlifeai_projects_July_overview