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Wildlife Parks’ Digital Initiatives in Singapore

Three enterprises have been chosen to improve animal welfare, productivity, and guest experience in Singapore’s wildlife parks. They triumphed in an innovation competition run by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and an organisation dedicated to protecting wildlife.

“IMDA believes that any and every organisation can tap digital innovation to transform and unlock new opportunities for business growth,” says Justin Ang, Assistant Chief Executive, Media, Innovation, Communications & Marketing, IMDA.

He continued by saying that they are helping the wildlife reserves group’s innovation journey by diagnosing business challenges, defining problem statements, and crowdsourcing solutions. He also expressed excitement for other partner groups to develop their digital transformation roadmap.

The innovation programme is housed on IMDA’s Open Innovation Platform (OIP), a digital platform for crowdsourcing that connects actual business problems with cutting-edge technological solutions. This will start the creation of a prototype and give them the chance to show how desirable, feasible, and viable their solutions are.

The management of wildlife precincts and animal care, on the other hand, typically uses less developed digital and technological solutions, according to the wildlife reserves group. The group began working with IMDA to tap into the technology ecosystem for creative solutions that would help improve welfare, facilitate the unique challenges of zoo operations, and unlock innovative new ways for the experience of the visitors as part of the group’s digital transformation towards smart, integrated wildlife park experiences and operations.

Since June 2021, the organisation for wildlife reserves has collaborated closely with IMDA, using the OIP to crowdsource solutions. The organisation took part in three innovation calls on the national digital innovation platform over the past year, which attracted 60 submissions and ultimately produced three proof-of-concept developments with promising outcomes.

One of the projects focused on the management and upkeep of the wildlife park’s aviary meshing, which is heavily dependent on manual inspections to find breaches and may be subject to human error. There are inherent restrictions from visual inspections, including the inability to examine the mesh above a certain height because of the average aviary’s size and height of 3,000 square metres and 35 metres, respectively.

The wildlife reserves group discovered through OIP an automated method that checks the integrity of the aviary mesh and detects any potential breaches more precisely while minimising human error. This method uses a vibration sensor network. Testing of the suggested fix is currently taking place.

As of now, OIP has helped solve problems in industries like manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare using technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented reality and virtual reality.

Meanwhile, the Singapore National Parks Board (NParks) together with its partners recently revealed the release of Fin Finder, the first mobile app in Asia that uses AI to visually identify shark and ray species that are being traded illegally.

Officers from the Singapore National Parks Board will use the app to combat the illegal wildlife trade. They are currently required to collect the fins from each shipment for DNA testing to identify the species, which can take up to a week to complete.

Thus, by enabling officers to take photos of fins that will be compared against a database of more than 15,000 images of shark and ray fins via an AI-driven algorithm in the app, Fin Finder streamlines this procedure.

The AI-powered app provides visual identification of shark and ray species on-site in a matter of seconds and will also enable officers to quickly flag suspicious fin shipments for additional DNA testing to stop the illegal trade in shark and ray fins.

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