Facial Recognition Technology for Animals

Petfix Club
22nd September 2020 - 2 min read

We are living in an era as humans, where logins are being tied to fingerprints, and iris scans can unlock your phone. This poses obvious privacy implications for humans to worry about as facial recognition software comes to the forefront of modern technology.

Imagine when people start learning how to hack human body recognition software. This scary thought would make you wonder how they could pull off such instances of identity theft.

These questions are still being considered, but in the animal world, identity theft problems are not such a big issue. In fact, facial recognition helps for trying to track populations in the wild.


LINC, The Lion Identification Network of Collaborators is an example of a community based in Kenya using technology for animals. It is an open source system comprised of a shared database that allows lion researchers and conservationists the ability to track roaming lions across vast landscapes.

The aim is to use facial recognition technology to better understand where the big cats roam, for conservation reasons. The Scientific American explained that Lions movements throughout Africa are poorly understood and tracking through other efforts such as GPS transmitters are not only expensive, but run out of battery every few years and must be fitted when the animal is sedated.

LINC also employs a computer aided search feature utilizing the facial features and markings of individual lions. The computer vision system detects lion faces and areas of interest based on a HAAR classifier, then processes them into classifiers using a Convolutional Neural Network.

Other uses of Technology for Animals

There have been multiple other attempts at using this type of technology in animals such as facial recognition software for wild apes.

In 2013, there also was a novelty campaign in New Zealand called Doggelganger, which was supposed to match potential adoptee dogs with owners based on face alone.

Perhaps technology for animals could be used to look at genetic studies to figure out how generations of animals spread in the wild. Missing dogs and cats could now have another tool in the search to find them. Similarly, we could track animal evolution and perhaps even the spread of diseases.

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