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SAVING THE WORLDS RAREST DOLPHIN WITH TECHNOLOGY

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO HELP INTELLIGENT DOLPHINS

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

Once we know where they are and where they travel, we can protect our taonga from extinction. We have to do some clever thinking to stop the world’s rarest dolphin population from dropping any lower.

The biggest threats are location-related. By identifying individual dolphins, knowing where they are and when they are there, decisions can be made to protect them from fishing, 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 WANTS TO
UNDERSTAND ALL THE MAIN THREATS TO
MĀUI AND
HECTOR’S DOLPHINS.

NO MORE FISHING
ACCIDENTS

Commercial fishing is a 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 MAUI63, WE’RE A 
LITTLE DIFFERENT
..

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

ESPECIALLY OUR NATIVE MĀUI

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Maui dolphins swimming

We want to be able to tell exactly which dolphin has been where and when! This data is extremely useful for research into how far the dolphins move and what they do throughout their range.

Once we have collected sufficient 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

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GETTING

SMART

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Maui dolphin fin
Maui dolphin fin