World Wildlife Day: Join Us in Celebrating Partnerships for Conservation

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    Mar 07, 2023

    March 3 marked this year’s World Wildlife Day, an international day set by the UN to celebrate the world’s wild animals and plants and the vast contribution that they bring to our lives and our planet’s health.

    The theme of this year’s event was an invitation by the UN to, “Join us in celebrating partnerships for conservation.”

    It’s also the title of this post because for us, partnerships are a key enabler of sustainability and forging a home that remains viable for future generations and for biodiversity. Alongside technology, working together lies at the heart of our approach to nature conservation. And now that approach is needed more than ever because our planet is in trouble.

    In 2019 in the most expansive study of its kind, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) identified that a staggering 1 million animal and plant species are at risk of extinction, with the same report identifying five main drivers of the biodiversity crisis: changes to land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species.

    The common theme linking these five drivers is that they are all attributable to humanity’s collective impact. Equally, solving them requires our collective impact.

    So, what can we do?

    Since we launched our long-term digital inclusion and sustainability initiative TECH4ALL in 2019, we’ve sought to identify ways that technology can be used for good in the area of nature conservation. And while we have more than 30 years of experience in developing tech products and solutions, we know that we’re not conservation experts.

    So, we’ve also sought to develop partnerships with people, groups, and organizations that are. Without them, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to leverage the power of technology for the benefit of the planet.

    As a result, TECH4ALL environmental projects are currently running in 46 protected areas across the world. Each is showing us that technology deployed under a partnership approach can ramp up nature conservation efficacy by orders of magnitude.

    Technologies like connectivity, cloud, IoT, and AI are giving us a fighting chance at stopping the poaching and illegal logging that decimate habitats and species. Technology is enabling us to study the effects of climate change on ecosystems and species. And it is helping us to track and monitor endangered species, guide repopulation efforts, and mitigate the devastating effects of invasive species – all things that would have been impossible even a decade ago.

    However, without the collective capabilities of local conservation groups, global NGOs, telecom carriers, research institutes and other partners, we could not hope to truly leverage today’s technology to benefit biodiversity.

    Tech4Nature: “A partnership for technology in nature conservation”

    Under TECH4ALL, our Tech4Nature partnership with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) aims to measure the conservation success in 300 protected areas across the globe by the end of 2023.

    Endangered: the Hainan gibbon

    One Tech4Nature project that’s currently running in China’s Hainan Island aims to guide the repopulation of the world’s rarest primate.

    Confined to a narrow area of rainforest, just 36 Hainan gibbons remain in existence.

    A Hainan gibbon

    Together with IUCN and Hainan National Park Research Institute, we’re exploring ways to better protect the critically endangered species and help repopulation efforts. To do so, conservationists need to understand the primate’s behaviors and accurately track and monitor individuals based on their calls. Given the elusive nature of the gibbon, which swings from tree to tree high up in the forest canopy, extracting meaningful data has so far proven impossible for conservationists.

    Now, though, technology offers a lifeline. Audio-monitoring devices connected by a wireless network to a cloud platform are transmitting audio data to cloud in real time for analysis by AI. Conservationists are studying the distribution, habits, and movements of the gibbon to guide and assess the efficacy of conservation measures, giving hope that we can bring this species back from the brink of extinction.

    Endangered: Norway’s wild Atlantic salmon

    The population of wild Atlantic salmon across Norway’s 500-river system has halved since the 1980s due to an invasive species – the Pacific salmon. The aggressive competition for resources and prolific spawning habits of the invader has precipitated another potential extinction event – a predicted 1 million Pacific salmon will swamp Norway’s rivers in 2023 due to its biennial spawning cycle.

    To help prevent this, we teamed up with a local association of anglers and hunters, BJFF, and Norwegian tech companies Simula Consulting and Troll Systems to develop a pilot project in the Storelva River in the northern fishing village of Berlevag. An algorithm can identify Pacific salmon and alert a gate system to filter the invasive species into a holding tank for removal. The system lets wild Atlantic salmon and sea char pass unhindered upstream to complete their spawning cycles.

    The solution’s automated gate let’s wild Atlantic salmon through

    Endangered: wildlife in ecosystems across the globe

    Other tech-driven solutions in play under our TECH4ALL initiative, which are specifically designed to help safeguard endangered wildlife around the world, include whales and dolphins in Ireland, the rock antelope in Greece, the Darwin’s fox in Chile, the North American jaguar in Mexico, and amphibian life in Austria’s wetlands.

    But is it too little too late?

    As IPBES Chair Sir Robert Watson remarked in relation to the alarming 2019 report:

    “It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global. Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

    Sir Robert Watson, IPBES Chair.

    I believe that to be true, but we must work together to achieve transformative change. Thus, now is indeed the time to celebrate partnerships for conservation and to commit to making a lasting difference.


    About TECH4ALL

    TECH4ALL is Huawei’s long-term digital inclusion initiative and action plan. Enabled by innovative technologies and partnerships, TECH4ALL is designed to help promote inclusion and sustainability in the digital world.

    For more information, please visit the Huawei TECH4ALL website at

    Follow the Twitter TECH4ALL account.

     


    Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.

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