Griffith University Secures Funding to Expand AI Koala Tracking System

Photo credit: Griffith University/Facebook

Researchers at Griffith University in Mt Gravatt have received continued funding for their AI-powered ‘facial recognition’ camera system to monitor koala crossings in South East Queensland.

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The project, now in its third year, uses cameras with artificial intelligence software to identify individual koalas using wildlife crossings. The data provides insights into koala movement to support conservation efforts for the vulnerable species.

Led by Professor Jun Zhou from Griffith’s School of Information and Communication Technology, the project recently received a $100,000 grant from the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science. This follows previous funding of $90,000 in 2021 and $100,000 last June.

Photo credit: Griffith University

“This project extends our innovative AI-powered koala monitoring system to cover wider areas of koala habitat in South East Queensland, and engage with 14 local community groups across 10 local government areas to facilitate the installation and maintenance of the camera network,” Professor Zhou said.

Since 2021, the team has set up cameras at 24 locations in Redland City. The AI analyses the footage to recognise individual koalas and track their crossing activity.

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Frank Mikula from Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary said the technology is valuable for koala conservation.

Photo credit: Griffith University

“We’re all about sharing information and it’s really good to be able to put people in contact and create that conduit between researchers so that everyone can get to the same goal faster,” Mikula said.

“The technology does the heavy lifting for us, and that’s really important moving forward.

“With increased knowledge about how koalas are crossing roads, we can better inform mitigation and management so that we can ensure a better long-term future for koalas.”

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The project engages with 14 community groups across 10 local council areas. The aim is to facilitate data-driven planning to protect declining koala populations in the region.

Published 28-September-2023