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From the Kibsi blog:

Unlocking the Future of Animal Care at Zoos and Aquariums: Automating Ethograms with Kibsi

Unlocking the Future of Animal Care at Zoos and Aquariums: Automating Ethograms with Kibsi

Introduction: Unlocking the Secret Language of Zoo Animals

As a zookeeper or animal researcher, you understand that observation is key to ensuring animal well-being and facilitating important conservation efforts. Ethograms—systematic catalogs of animal behaviors—serve as a critical tool for this purpose. They provide a scientific basis for monitoring everything from animal health to social dynamics.

However, we find ourselves in an era driven by technological advancements that can augment traditional methods. Among these innovations, Kibsi stands out as a platform that can transform real-time video feeds into actionable insights.

In this blog, we will explore the fundamental role of ethograms in zoo management and how emerging technology, specifically Kibsi, can enhance our ability to understand and care for animals in a more effective manner.

The ABCs of Ethograms

What is an Ethogram?

For those in zoo management, an ethogram needs little introduction. It’s your behavioral inventory, a scientific framework that articulates the myriad actions or interactions a given animal species is known to engage in.

Why Zoos Love Ethograms

  • Health Monitoring: When an animal diverges from its usual behavior, it often serves as the first alert to possible health issues.
  • Enrichment Programs: Ethograms serve as a blueprint for creating engaging and species-specific activities, enhancing the animals’ psychological and physical well-being.
  • Research and Conservation: These behavioral catalogs stand as foundational resources for research initiatives, especially those aimed at species conservation.
  • Visitor Education: Leveraging ethograms for public education adds an additional layer of richness to the visitor experience.

Creating an Ethogram: The Essentials

The development of a useful ethogram is a meticulous process. It usually starts with a period of intensive observation. Yes, the stage where you’re practically glued to the observation deck, noting every twitch, squawk, or pounce. The importance of context here can’t be understated; observing the animal in various situations and times provides a more holistic understanding.

This observational phase often employs supplementary methods like video documentation, offering a rich data set for subsequent analysis. The final stage involves processing this raw data into distinguishable behaviors. It’s more than just ticking boxes; it’s about drawing meaningful patterns that can be put into action, whether it’s an adjustment in daily feeding or a change in enclosure design.

Enter Kibsi: A New Age for Animal Behavior Monitoring

The Limits of Human Observation

Even with the best staff and the most rigorous observation schedules, there are limits to what can be manually observed and recorded. Continuous 24/7 observation isn’t feasible, and even minor lapses can lead to missed behavioral cues.

Kibsi to the Rescue

This is where Kibsi comes into the picture, acting as a force multiplier for your existing observation systems. Kibsi connects to your current cameras to provide real-time computer vision analysis. In a nutshell, we automate the grunt work of sifting through hours of footage, freeing your experts to focus on what really matters: the animals.

Real-Time Monitoring & Alerts

Kibsi doesn’t just collect data; it interprets it. By setting up alerts for specific behaviors or interactions, you’ll have a proactive system in place. Imagine being notified the moment an elephant exhibits signs of stress or a penguin engages in an unusual social interaction. Such real-time insights can be critical for preemptive animal care.

Data-Driven Enrichment Programs

Kibsi’s capabilities extend beyond basic monitoring. The structured data gleaned can be used to evaluate and evolve your enrichment programs, ensuring they remain effective and engaging for the animals involved.

Case Study: The Woodland Park Zoo Experience

We recently partnered with the Woodland Park Zoo to assist in monitoring their rhino population. The project included creating heatmaps for rhino movement within their enclosure. Bonnie Baird, Animal Welfare Scientist at Woodland Park Zoo, noted, “Tracking animal behavior and interactions requires our professionals to sift through hours of camera footage. We are excited to add Kibsi’s computer vision capabilities to our existing cameras to gain valuable insights about our animals and their well-being.”

Exclusive Opportunity: Be a Pioneer in Automated Ethograms

For those interested in taking animal behavior analysis to the next level, we are actively seeking exclusive “launch partners” to help pioneer automated ethograms. This is a unique opportunity to be the first in the country to integrate this advanced technology into your ethogram processes. More details will be released shortly but if this peaks your interest, drop us a note! 

How to Get Started

Connecting Kibsi to Your Zoo’s Existing Cameras

Connecting Kibsi to your existing cameras is a breeze. The process is designed to be user-friendly and doesn’t require advanced technical skills. In fact, it’s easier than teaching a parrot to talk (although to be fair, we’ve never taught a parrot to talk)! Plus, we’ll walk you through every step of the process.

Choosing or Creating Models

With Kibsi, you have the flexibility of using our ready-made models tailored for specific animals and behaviors. Need something more customized? No problem. You have the option to create your own models to meet the unique needs of your zoo’s inhabitants.

Turning Insights Into Action

Once Kibsi is running, the data will start flowing in. Use these real-time insights to:

  • Adjust Feeding Schedules: Discover optimal feeding times based on when animals are most active.
  • Enhance Enrichment Programs: Use data to fine-tune activities that keep animals physically and mentally stimulated.
  • Inform Visitors: Create engaging, data-backed educational materials to enrich the visitor experience.

Conclusion: The Future is Bright with Kibsi and Ethograms

Ethograms are invaluable tools for animal care, and Kibsi adds another layer to this tried-and-true method. With automated, real-time behavior monitoring and data analysis, you can elevate the level of care for your animals while also enhancing the visitor experience.

Your Next Steps

If you’re intrigued by the possibilities Kibsi brings to the table, we encourage you to take the leap into the future of animal care. Become part of the movement to integrate tech solutions for a more comprehensive and effective approach to animal well-being. Apply here to become an exclusive launch partner and pioneer automated ethograms with us.

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