Facial Recognition Tech Eases Giant Panda Recognition

Giant Panda
A giant panda, a bear native to south central China, inside a zoo (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and the researchers from Singapore's Nanyang Technological University and Sichuan Normal University developed a facial recognition app that will help identify the giant pandas.

According to Wan Yongqing, a photographer from China who observes Pandas in the Chengdu facility and other sites associated with the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan said that he is having trouble identifying one from the other because they all look the same.

According to Zhang Zhihe, chief of the Chengdu base, that discerning one bear from another does matter to researchers. He said that it is important for conservation management and research. It is important in identifying daily feeding schedules, genealogy, and archival management. Recognition also helps research in wild panda's population structure, and it provides scientific support for their protection and management.

China finished four scientific surveys in wild animals so far. They managed to accumulate a large number of valuable data about the animals.

The surveys gathered the total number of wild pandas in China. They, however, find it difficult to classify them based on population distribution, age, gender, health, and other information. Zhang said that the wild panda population structure is focused on overall population density, age, sex ration, birthrate, and mortality. He added that it is difficult to track and monitor the structure because of wild pandas' solitary living habits in deep mountains and their vast geographical habitat.

According to reports, the app will draw from more than 12, 000 pictures and 10, 000 of the giant pandas to identify the animals. The 2014 census of the Chinese government said that there are fewer than 2, 000 giant pandas left in the wild and they are mostly found in the three provinces in western China.

The Chinese government extended extra conservation efforts. The Chinese government announced last year that they will build a 10,476-square-mile panda reserve which will be called the Giant Panda National Park that costs at least 10 billion yuan.

The fourth census conducted by the Chinese government in 2015 showed that there are 1,864 wild pandas and 375 captive pandas worldwide as of the end of 2013. From 2000 to 2002, there were 1,596 wild pandas and 164 captive pandas worldwide.

The fourth census also suggests that 24 of the 33 groups of wild pandas are endangered and some groups have fewer than 30 pandas. Zhang Hemin, deputy director of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, said that eighteen groups have fewer than 10 pandas each.

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