Great Ape Facial Recognition and Identification

Tilo Burghardt, O Brookes, CA Brust, M Groenenberg, C Kaeding, HS Kuehl, M Manguette, J Denzler, AS Crunchant, M Egerer, A Loos, K Zuberbuehler, K Corogenes, V Leinert, L Kulik

In order to evaluate the status of great ape populations and the effectiveness of conservation interventions accurate monitoring tools are needed. The utilisation and interpretation of field photography and inexpensive autonomous cameras can often provide detailed information about species presence, abundance, behaviour, welfare or population dynamics.

Caption: The figure depicts row-by-row left-to-right the gorillas: Ayana, Kukuena, Kala, Touni, Afia, Kera from Bristol Zoo. The large image on the far right is of Jock. All gorillas have unique facial features.

Together with researchers from various institutions including the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the University of Jena, and Bristol Zoo Gardens, we co-developed various computer vision and deep learning systems for detecting great ape faces in imagery and for identifying individual animals based on their unique facial features. These techniques can be applied in the wild using camera traps or manual photography, or in captive setting for studying welfare and behaviours. We are also working with the Gorilla Game Lab to utilise this technology.

Caption: Recognition example of Kera at Bristol Zoo.

Related Publications

O Brookes, T Burghardt. A Dataset and Application for Facial Recognition of Individual Gorillas in Zoo Environments. In press. Proc. 25th International Conference on Pattern Recognition (ICPR) Workshop on Visual Observation and Analysis of Vertebrate And Insect Behavior (VAIB), January 2021. (Arxiv PDF)

CA Brust, T Burghardt, M Groenenberg, C Kaeding, HS Kuehl, M Manguette, J Denzler. Towards Automated Visual Monitoring of Individual Gorillas in the Wild. Visual Wildlife Monitoring (VWM) Workshop at IEEE International Conference of Computer Vision (ICCVW), pp. 2820-2830, October 2017. (DOI:10.1109/ICCVW.2017.333), (Dataset Gorilla2017), (CVF Version)

AS Crunchant, M Egerer, A Loos, T Burghardt, K Zuberbuehler, K Corogenes, V Leinert, L Kulik, HS Kuehl. Automated Face Detection for Occurrence and Occupancy Estimation in Chimpanzees. American Journal of Primatology. Vol 79, Issue 3, ISSN: 1098-2345. March 2017. (DOI 10.1002/ajp.22627)

HS Kuehl, T Burghardt. Animal Biometrics: Quantifying and Detecting Phenotypic Appearance. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol 28, No 7, pp. 432-441, July 2013.