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Drones Used To Detect Endangered Species Poaching In Nepal

Endangered species drone

A successful test of two wildlife conservation drones was conducted in Chitwan National Park in Nepal to determine whether or not the new technology is efficient in monitoring tigers, rhinos, and other endangered species.

The remote-controlled drone was developed by ecologist Lian Pin Koh of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and biologist Serge Wich of the University of Zurich. It is equipped with cameras and GPS equipment to capture images and video from areas in the landscape that are otherwise hard to see. It measures about two meters wide and can fly as high as 200 meters, covering 25 kilometers in 45 minutes. At $2,500, it’s also pretty affordable for the extensive work it can do.

After the test proved successful, there is talk of the drones being used to detect habitat destruction as well. There are negotiations in the works to use these drones in Tanzania and the Malaysian state of Sabah.

This is a great example of how new technology, originally designed for military purposes, can be used for a good cause.

via WWF
Image courtesy of WWF:  Serge Wich, one of the developers of the Drone, explaining the Drone’s features to the Minister of Forests and Soil Conservation, Yadu Bansa Jha.

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  • Michael Birks

    One immediately gets the semi-amusing mental images of escalation, where drones are used, first to find the animals to poach, then they’re armed to allow the remote hunting of the animals, while the conservators end up using armed drones to hunt the poachers.

    If the drones are cheap enough to be used by budget constrained conservation groups, you know they’re also going to be cheap enough for the poachers themselves.

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    Or simply shot down by poachers. These look like they don’t fly very high.

  • Michael Birks

    Well, I wasn’t going to go into the whole aerial dog-fight between poacher and anti-poacher drones thing.

    Seriously, though, I suspect that they’re a pretty hard target for the kind of small arms carried by most outlaw groups (I’m thinking along the lines of AK-47s or 050 Cal machine guns) especially if they’re being flown in ‘real-time’ and the operator has the nous to climb when spotting a group of poachers. The 200m ceiling mentioned in the article isn’t actually all that bad.

    Theft or vandalism on the ground would be my concern, just to bleed money away from the conservators.