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Bandits Dive into Marine Biology in Portland

The Bandits help out with manta ray identification research at the Wild Me office.

What a gorgeous day for the Bandit Tour to stop in Portland. The sun was shining and the Bandits were out in force. We opened the day learning some Beyonce choreography, (thanks, Jess!) which got us perked up and ready to do some good. Today, we’ll be splitting into two teams: one team doing a Bandit Act of Kindness with Wild Me and the other team working on a Salesforce consulting engagement with the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council.

Animal conservation with the help of A.I.

Wild Me is a nonprofit tech start-up that is leveraging cutting edge computer vision, artificial intelligence and data science to count wildlife populations through photos. Their ultimate goal is to safeguard endangered species and combat extinction. Their technology is used by a variety of other organizations that focus their efforts on specific animal populations like zebras, whale sharks, whales, dolphins and manta rays.

Today, our role was “turking” – essentially teaching their AI how to recognize a photo of an animal. Our focus animal was the manta ray! Ten Bandits gathered at the Wild Me office, an eccentric co-working space, to get started. The clicking, dragging and identification tasks that we did will help catalogue images in their database of manta ray photos, which they’d gathered from their network of biologists, conservationists and citizen scientists. Once the tool goes live, it will support a network of over 80 biologists around the world who study manta ray populations. This is just one initiative of several that they have, supporting a variety of animal populations around the globe.

A small nonprofit goes global

At the same time, another group of Bandits met with the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC). This nonprofit’s mission is to promote wildlife rehabilitation through science-based learning programs. The good news for the IWRC is that they are growing! And with growth comes the challenge and opportunity to rethink how the organization can best serve its mission. Our team worked with the IWRC to help scale their Salesforce org in order to support more users in the system. Another challenge they were facing, which is common to many organizations, was having a variety of unused fields and apps in their org, which were cluttering the user interface. We worked with the IWRC to remove these – a change that will create a lot more efficiency for the small team of two people. This team serves clients in countries around the world, and time saved equals more knowledge in the hands of people who can help animals.

As we leave Portland, we head west to the coast. We will have the incredible opportunity to see some whales breaching in the distance. When I see them, I’ll be reminded of the nonprofits from today that are making sure we keep seeing these amazing creatures.

Coos bay, Oregon, is up next!

Written by Anthony Azar, Talent Attraction Manager, Traction on Demand. Read more from him about the Bandit Tour’s stop in Seattle and kick off to #BanditTour18.

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