Conservation charities and organisations believe they finally have the technological edge in the long-term fight against poachers across southern Africa. Drones originally developed for warfare in the Middle East and elsewhere are now becoming smaller, more affordable, and flexible in their uses. Conservationists across the continent are now deciding whether they can be fully utilised to protect big game such as elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and others.
The Benefits of the Drone
Able to fly for long periods of time, far from the point of control, with a high degree of stability, stealth, and also the ability to film single or multiple angles close by and far away, the drone has a range of abilities for conservationists to exploit. These can most ably be divided into protecting wildlife from poachers and monitoring their behaviours. Combating Poachers: An eye in the sky, allows conservationists to see not only where the animals are, but also the poachers too. When a territory covers hundreds of square miles, it’s next to impossible to guess where the poachers are. However, if a drone can spot them from a distance, then conservationists and government forces can better deploy their troops to protect the nearest animals in danger.
Monitoring Endangered AnimalsDrones also allow conservationists to monitor wildlife populations, breeding, eating habits and movements without coming into too close contact with them. All of these animals, while in need of man’s help to protect them from poachers, do not know they need our help, do not trust us, and in some cases, see us as food. Drones keep their distance, record valuable data, and make monitoring safer for wardens. That being said, some caution is required because drones can cause heart rates rise in some monitored animals such as bears, wild sheep, and birds in North America.
Drones Help Promote Sustainable Tourism
Stopping poachers on the ground is half the battle. The other half comes from educating people of all backgrounds and promoting eco-friendly tourism which puts money in the coffers to pay for their protection. Video sharing websites such as YouTube and AirVuz are at the centre of this because drone footage of wonderful animals in their natural element without being disturbed by humans is breathtaking. It educates children about how wonderful they are, and helps people know that they need protecting whether it’s booking a holiday to see them up close or donating to a charity.