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Current Projects

Facial Recognition of Lemurs

Lemurs are the world’s most endangered mammals. Analyzing individual lemur movements and interactions among a group of lemurs is essential for tracking the health of lemur populations. Current methods for identifying lemurs are limited to capturing and tagging individuals or visually identifying them via appearance. Tagging individual lemurs is expensive and disruptive to the population both in terms of causing injury and the possibility of group social dynamic shifts. Visual identification requires substantial expertise gained over time and produces results which are difficult to generalize.

Automatic facial recognition of humans is a mature technology and has many uses, from unlocking smartphones to finding suspects in surveillance video. A novel application of this technology, however, is recognizing other mammalian species. By creating a facial detection and recognition application to identify lemurs from images, this project will allow for simple and inexpensive tracking of individual lemurs in their habitat. The presence of distinctive facial features among lemurs allows for accurate recognition by extending and adapting techniques used in human face recognition to the facial anatomy of lemurs.

Fig. 1 A Red-Bellied Lemur


Relevant Publication(s)

1. Jacobs, RL, Tecot, SR, Klum, S, Crouse, D, Jain, AK (2014) Developing novel face recognition techniques for population assessments and long-term research of threatened lemurs. International Primatological Society XXV Congress, Hanoi, Vietnam.


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