About WildEye

Who We Are

Our journey began in 2014 around the time of the Great Elephant Census – a continent-wide survey of the entire African elephant population, conceptualised by Paul G. Allen and Elephants Without Borders, that spanned 2 years, 500 000 km, 10 000 hours, 18 countries, and involved a team of 90 scientists and 286 crew. Paul Maritz, our founder and financier, was convinced that there must be a way to both reduce the cost, and improve the accuracy, of elephant surveying using modern technology. While the development of such technology would come too late for the Great Elephant Census, it would allow for surveys to be conducted more frequently, and at a lower cost in future.

Our mission was then expanded following discussions with Justin Seymour-Smith – the surveys manager for the Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme run by the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). Paul identified the need to automate the tedious process of annotating the vast quantities of data generated by camera-trap surveys. Again, modern technology offered the opportunity to both reduce the cost, and improve the accuracy of these surveys. Importantly, this would allow such surveys to be performed more regularly, as well as free up the valuable time of the researchers involved.

These projects were combined under a new AI-conservation organisation known as WildEye that would seek to further expand Paul’s vision and provide AI-focused assistance to the conservation community.

Meet the team

Paul Maritz

Founder and Financier

Paul was born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), before moving to South Africa at an early age. After completing degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science at the Universities of Natal and Cape Town, he began his working career in the UK, before moving to the US and working for various companies such as Intel, Microsoft and VMware. Paul has a passion for Africa and conservation, and has been the driving force behind a number of conservation initiatives, including ESS and TrapTagger, providing funding and technical guidance. WildEye brings these projects together, and aims to assist organisations in using technology and artificial intelligence to improve wildlife conservation.


Technology Research and Development

Innoventix is a machine-vision consulting firm based in Centurion, South Africa. It was founded by Hannes Naude and Cobus Potgieter in 2007 to service the growing need for artificial intelligence expertise in the country. We were tasked by Paul to realise his envisioned elephant surveying system, before branching out into his other conservation-minded projects and setting up WildEye.

Hannes Naude

Director at Innoventix and ESS Project Lead

Hannes completed his M.Eng in electronic engineering at the Rand Afrikaans University in 2003. Starting his career in the imaging systems department at Denel Dynamics allowed him to further develop his knowledge of algorithms in general and machine learning in particular. It was also here that he met Cobus who was to become his co-founder in Innoventix. He has had varying degrees of involvement with ESS, where he is currently the project lead, and really enjoys all aspects of this challenging project, but especially the field tests. He insists that he is not weird, just limited edition.

Cobus Potgieter

Director at Innoventix

Cobus completed his electronic engineering degree at the University of Pretoria in 2001. He started his career at Denel Dynamics, before joining Innoventix in 2008. He has been involved with the Elephant Survey System and TrapTagger for many years, and enjoys the opportunity to apply the skills learnt in the defence industry to projects that have a positive impact on nature conservation.

Dr Nicholas Osner

TrapTagger Project Lead

Nicholas obtained his PhD in electronic engineering from the University of Pretoria, specialising in artificial intelligence and electronic warfare, before joining Innoventix. He is the project lead on TrapTagger, where he loves the opportunity to combine his passions for nature and technology, whilst doing so for a good cause.

Alkmaar Swart

Innoventix Design Engineer and Software Developer

Alkmaar Swart is an electronic and computer engineer from Pretoria, South Africa. He has worked for Innoventix Consulting since 2018.

We are a team of tech-minded individuals with a passion for conservation, and a desire to help out where we can with the resources and skills at our fingertips. We apply modern technology, especially in the form of machine vision, to solving challenging conservation problems in order to serve the conservation community at large.

Let’s Chat

If you have a conservation need that you think we can help you with, please get in touch with us.