Wildbook is an Artificial Intelligence software specially designed for wildlife researchers. The platform utilizes computer vision and artificial intelligence to enable real time insights for conservation and research. 

WildBook was designed in response to the following problem: there is an abundance of data available on the state of wildlife, but processing it is so time-consuming and labor-intensive that data often becomes outdated by the time it is in a usable form. Moreover, it is challenging to conduct population surveys of endangered species, as current survey methods are invasive, time-consuming, and expensive. Wildbook offers a solution to these problems. Simply put, WildBook is like a barcode reader for the world’s wildlife. It enables the identification of every unique member of a species, through an AI-supported population census.

How does it work? Wildbook uses crowdsourced images from local residents, tourists, researchers, nature enthusiasts, or any other citizen scientist. The software first identifies animals, and then bounds, annotates and classifies data points representing one or more animals that will be analyzed. Then, animals are identified as unique or as a match to already-identified animals in the WildBook database through their unique markings or characteristics, such as a cheetah’s spots. 

The software was developed by Professor Tanya Berger-Wolf at the University of Illinois-Chicago and the data team at her company Wild Me in 2014, and has grown to involve several more corporate partners, including Microsoft AI for Earth. To date, Wildbook’s software has been used to create a database of Grevy’s Zebras, Manta Rays, Giraffes, Whale Sharks, and other threatened species globally. WildBook is now assisting with identification of a range of IUCN Red List species and intends to expand to a larger range of species in the coming years.


Artificial Intelligence, Biodiversity, Citizen Science, Data, Ecological Monitoring, Internet of Things