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SAVING THE WORLDS RAREST DOLPHIN WITH TECHNOLOGY

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO HELP INTELLIGENT DOLPHINS

We’ve developed an AI-powered tracking drone to autonomously find, follow and uniquely identify Māui ui and Hector dolphins.

Once we know where they are and where they travel, we can protect our taonga from extinction. We won’t stand by as the world's rarest dolphin population drops below 63.

The biggest threats are location-related. By identifying individual dolphins, knowing where they are and when they are there, we can help protect them from falling victim to fishing, predators, climate change, toxoplasmosis and other mishaps. It will help tremendously to halt the decline towards extinction.

THE MĀUI
PROJECT​

THE PROJECT IN A NUTSHELL

  • Find and track dolphins via surveys, to create accurate spatial distribution models

  • Reveal temporal changes in dolphin movement patterns

  • Use the data to inform threat risk models informed by natural (e.g. shark predation) and anthropogenic factors (e.g. fisheries, climate change, toxoplasmosis).

  • Uniquely identify individuals via fin markings​

  • Distinguishing between adults and calves​

By automating the surveying process, regular location data of critically endangered marine animals can finally be captured.

MAUI63 HELPS TO
RELIEVE ALL THE
MAIN THREATS TO
OUR MĀUI AND
HECTOR’S DOLPHINS.

NO MORE FISHING
ACCIDENTS

Commercial fishing is the largest anthropogenic threat to the dolphins, but also an economically important industry to New Zealand. Restricted zones and sanctuaries are in place, but without continuous monitoring they are hard to manage, and the sanctuaries can’t be extended appropriately.

Our up to date data will allow policy makers to accurately update the restricted zones, ensuring fishing boats are nowhere near the dolphins!

AT MĀUI63, WE’RE A 
LITTLE DIFFERENT
..

A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CREATED TO PROTECT MARINE LIFE WITH THE VERY LATEST TECHNOLOGIES

ESPECIALLY OUR NATIVE MAUI

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We want to be able to tell exactly which dolphin has been where and when! This data is extremely useful for research into declining populations and deaths.

Once we have collected a significant amount of data, we plan to implement predictive models and further utilise machine learning to predict location behaviour among other data between flights, resulting in a reduced flight time and overall cost. All this amazing data will be collated and made publicly available to researchers, policymakers and industry.

This means that in the very near future we want to uniquely identify dolphins, based on their fins, and distinguish calves from adults.

WE ARE
CONTINUOUSLY
IMPROVING
THE AI

Promo video for MAUI63 showing drones and AI detecting Maui dolphins autonomously
We have built an AI object detection model that can uniquely identify Māui and Hector’s dolphins from aerial footage.

GETTING

SMART

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