Synature - Wolf Monitoring

by Miya, Olivier, and Adrian & Noah

Lausanne, Glarus, and Sion

We are 4 nature loving engineers that want to enable the co-existence of humans and wildlife. Our goal is to develop a smart mic that can detect the howling of wolves in real-time to help rangers.

CHF 20’710

103% of CHF 20’000

103 %
This is how it worksä

The «all or nothing» principle applies: The project only receives the funds if the funding target is reached or exceeded.

54 backers

Successfully concluded on 13/11/2022

The very first AI-based wolf acoustic monitoring device !

Throughout the world, keystone species’ populations are fluctuating due to human activities. These animals (lions, wolves, tigers, leopards, …) are hard to observe in the wild due to their discrete nature and therefore, it is almost impossible to have a good understanding of their populations and their development. As a result, decisions involving wildlife management are often taken even without a good grasp of the issue.

It is therefore essential to know where these animals are, to understand their movements and their population trends in order to protect them. The solution we offer at Synature was developed closely with our potential users: rangers and biologists.

We provide an AI-based animal voice recognizer capable of mapping the location of animals without interfering with their natural habitat. We do so by setting up smart mics in the forest, which can filter out animals’ voices from the rest of the noise. Once our devices pick up an animal voice, we can triangulate its position on a map.

On top of these smart mics, we are also developing a software that alerts in real-time where an animal has been heard.

Our first step will be to focus on the issue of wolves in Switzerland, and once we cover all critical areas, we will concentrate on other species.

Over 800 cattle were killed in 2021 in Switzerland due to wolves

The wolf population has been growing faster than ever in Switzerland; there are currently ~150 wolves in our forrest (~20 wolves in 2013) . As a result, it causes the number of conflicts between wolves and humans to rise too; cattle are being lost to wolf attacks and wolves are coming closer to urbanized areas. To prevent that, rangers have to monitor this animal to implement preventive measures.

Unfortunately, monitoring animals in the wild is a time- and labour-intensive process; it is currently done through the use of camera traps and manual acoustic traps, but these methods do not send out data automatically and the results need to be retrieved from the field. On top of that, these solutions are extremely costly.

With our smart microphone, we provide an effective way to locate and map wolves by using AI to detect their howling, which can be heard for over 3km. This allows us to cover large areas efficiently. Moreover, these howls are sent out automatically from our mics to our software, which means that rangers do not need to go in the field.

We need your support !

With your help, we will be able to create a new prototype with improved functionalities ! We are aiming for this new version to be able to

  • detect how many pups a wolf pack has,
  • precisely triangulate the position of wolf howlings, and
  • have an improved autonomy through the use of solar panels.

As we have been able to see the past few years in Switzerland, wolves learn and adapt quickly to new territories, and can therefore spread out quickly into the forest of Switzerland.

All these new functionalities that we will implement in our new prototype will help rangers face the growing wolf population, and overtime we truly hope that our technology will allow for wolves and humans to coexist and thrive !