US$467.00raised of $35,000.00 goal
We are a group of scientists from the National High Technology Center (CeNAT) in Costa Rica. In June 2021, we started the Manatee Project with the purpose to identify manatee critical habitats and to count them individually. This harmless species is threatened of extinction.
We started our project under a grant of the National Geographic Society in association with a sponsorship of Microsoft AI for Earth which will cover our work until the end of July 2022 and, so far, we have developed non-invasive technological tools to gather and analyze manatee data from the field.
Our tools consist of an algorithm based on artificial intelligence which allows us to process underwater sounds we acquire with the use of special recorders, and to finally count individual manatees based on their vocalizations, and of our MAR-ECO App for mobile devices which allows to register the manatee when seen.
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD MAR-ECO APP FOR FREE FROM GOOGLE PLAY STORE AND APP STORE.
We go to the field directly to use our underwater recorders, but we also count on a network of local people and park rangers near the manatee habitats who gather data for us with the MAR-ECO App. All data collected by the App goes to a web platform from which we can download the data in our Laboratories.
The total number of manatees in Costa Rica is very low. It was hunted for decades, and sightings are not abundant. Monitoring this species along the Costa Rican Caribbean with our technological tools is necessary to determine key areas for survivorship, which should be declared special sanctuaries to reinforce their protection.
WE NEED TO EXTEND OUR WORK BEYOND THE END OF JULY 2022 AND YOU CAN MAKE THIS POSSIBLE!
We are working not only to know the manatee through scientific work but to make people in Costa Rica aware of this species and its ecological importance, and about our responsibility and power to protect the species based on solid knowledge with the contribution of citizens and visitors along the Caribbean. Along with our reserach, we develop campaigns directed to local communities near the manatee habitats, as well as in massive and social media.
Our final goal is to count on sufficient data to provide trustable information to our authorities to implement policies for the benefit of the species and for the public to take care of it.
WITH THE REQUESTED FUNDS WE WILL BE ABLE TO EXTEND OUR MANATEE PROJECT FOR ONE MORE YEAR, FROM AUGUST 2022 TO JULY 2023.
During that year we will:
1. Develop 15 field trips to keep recording underwater sounds in manatee areas, and to keep gathering sighting data with the MAR-ECO App, under the support of park rangers and locals.
2. Reinforce our communication campaigns to keep promoting the use of MAR-ECO App in social media for people to keep registering the manatee.
3. Give technical maintenance to the MAR-ECO App and its associated web platform and keeping our subscriptions to Play Store and App Store active.
4. Improve our passive acoustics algorithm (Automatic Manatee Count Algorithm - AMCA) to accomplish more detailed manatee vocalization analyses beyond counting individual manatees.
5. Gather environmental data to characterize manatee habitats and develop a model to predict potential manatee areas along the Costa Rican Caribbean.
6. Analyze all the data collected though the MAR-ECO App and the algorithm and share our results with our contributors.
CURRENTLY, WE ARE ANALYZING OUR DATA SET OF OUR FIRST YEAR OF WORK.
We have more than 15,000 hours of underwater sounds under analysis by our algorithm and 477 records gathered through our App, also under analysis.
**WATCH OUR VIDEO FOR MORE INFORMATIONABOUT MANATEE PROJECT**
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