Engineers Develop Drones to Protect Elephants

Herd of elephants bathing in the jungle river of Sri Lanka

Drones have been used to ward off elephants from destroying crops because of their bee-like buzzing noise. At the same time, Drones are being used to help the same animals from being hunted for their ivory in Africa. Off-the-shelf UAVs can easily give pilots an aerial perspective. Non-profit Mara Elephant Project (MEP) in Kenya started using drones to fight elephant poaching , back in 2012. 

Engineers Help Curb Elephant Poaching

Drones are just one tool used by MEP Engineers. Luckily, they have been a huge contributing factor in capturing poachers. Tracking elephant movements additionally, are easy because of drones. The intelligence they have gathered have provided local authorities with evidence to make arrests. Elephants are repelled by the buzzing noise of drones, first deployed by rangers to ward elephants away from unwanted areas.

Engineers Say Donate to MEP

It is important to donate to MEP.   MEP is at the forefront of anti-poaching initiatives near and dear to all.  Again, it is important that groups like them receive both the money and equipment to fight the illicit wildlife trade industry.  Poaching is getting out of hand.  We require something in the near future to bust the poachers. African elephants are in trouble. Each year, tens of thousands of the enormous creatures, are senselessly murdered for their tusks.  

Conservationists fear they are on the road to extinction. Enter aerial drones.  First proving their value decades ago on military battlefields. Drones are proving to be a key player in the ongoing battle against poachers.  For 4 years, anti-poaching drones have been flying over national parks and game reserves in South Africa, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Likewise, they’ll begin flying in Botswana as part of an anti-poaching campaign.  

Long on Flying Time, New Drones Can Stay in the Air for Hours

The drones, made by the South African company UAV Drone Solutions (UDS), can stay aloft for two-and-a-half hours. UAV drones relaying live video from their onboard cameras to ground-based crews up to 15 miles away. Crews then share surveillance information, videos with park rangers and local police. 

Drone videos haven’t yet resulted in any convictions. Experts are convinced that the drones have helped deter the poaching of elephants as well as rhinos, which are killed for their horns.  Elephant and Rhino poaching has dropped significantly. Drones are particularly effective at spotting poachers at night, when anti-poaching teams in helicopters are grounded.

Interesting Applications

Many interesting applications with Drones, however, they alone are not the total answer. To say nothing of, Engineers and Rangers having eyes in the sky by feeding thermal images to operators on the ground. Park rangers have approximate whereabouts of poachers so they can make a good guess of their destination. Thus, saving a great deal of time, rather than laying in wait for poachers .

Cost and Benefits – Engineers Agree

Mapping habitats and spotting wildlife are relatively simple propositions. Using drones for surveillance applications like anti-poaching does remain a challenge. Drones that can stay in the air are costly. Additionally, costing about $20,000 to keep an anti-poaching drone crew in the field, for one month. Including , accommodation and salaries as well as the cost of the drones and support vehicle.  

In Conclusion:

There are naysayers that say it will never work to save this Great Creature. What works better at night? The alternative, is waking up in the morning, counting the deceased Elephants. 

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