Adaptive Resource Allocation for Wildlife Protection against Illegal Poachers


Rong Yang, Benjamin Ford, Milind Tambe, and Andrew Lemieux. 2014. “Adaptive Resource Allocation for Wildlife Protection against Illegal Poachers.” In International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS).


Illegal poaching is an international problem that leads to the extinction of species and the destruction of ecosystems. As evidenced by dangerously dwindling populations of endangered species, existing anti-poaching mechanisms are insufficient. This paper introduces the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS) application - a joint deployment effort done with researchers at Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) with the goal of improving wildlife ranger patrols. While previous works have deployed applications with a game-theoretic approach (specifically Stackelberg Games) for counter-terrorism, wildlife crime is an important domain that promotes a wide range of new deployments. Additionally, this domain presents new research challenges and opportunities related to learning behavioral models from collected poaching data. In addressing these challenges, our first contribution is a behavioral model extension that captures the heterogeneity of poachers’ decision making processes. Second, we provide a novel framework, PAWS-Learn, that incrementally improves the behavioral model of the poacher population with more data. Third, we develop a new algorithm, PAWS-Adapt, that adaptively improves the resource allocation strategy against the learned model of poachers. Fourth, we demonstrate PAWS’s potential effectiveness when applied to patrols in QENP, where PAWS will be deployed.
See also: Conservation, 2014
Last updated on 07/26/2021