By: Kalie Savill
Elephants and Rhinos are increasingly threatened by poaching as ivory and rhino horns become more desirable. Killing elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns has become a multi million dollar business. More than 20,000 elephants were killed by poachers in 2014 and about 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone.
There is a new method in catching these poachers.Using drones has proven effective in stopping the poachers in their tracks from thousands of miles away. A group called Air Shepherd hopes to stop the longtime problem of poaching by using new computer controlled drones that spot poachers, and make it easier for rangers to find them across Africa’s massive landscape.
The benefit of using these drones is that they can monitor a lot more ground than rangers. The drones are put in the air over those heavily-trafficked areas and it sends footage back to the drone operators. When poachers are spotted, the operators can then alert nearby rangers to intercept them. The drones are also helpful in collecting additional data about the habits of the animals and poachers.
“In the past six months where we’ve been operating in Africa, we’ve arrested a lot of poachers,” said Dr. Thomas Snitch of the University of Maryland. Snitch has been researching and testing this use of the technology.
By using science, math, satellites, and drones, we have a chance to save some of these animals.