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, they’re also being used to help the same animals from being hunted for their ivory in Africa. Since 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 as far back as 2012. 

How Have Drones Helped Curb Elephant Poaching?

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

It is important to donate to MEP because MEP is at the forefront of anti-poaching initiatives that are near to my heart. It’s important that groups like them receive both the money and equipment to fight the illicit wildlife trade industry. It’s getting out of hand and we need to something in the near future. African elephants are in trouble. Each year, tens of thousands of the enormous creatures are killed for their tusks, and conservationists fear they are on the road to extinction. But now, aerial drones, which first proved their value decades ago on military battlefields, are proving to be a key player in the ongoing battle against poachers. For the past four years, anti-poaching drones have been flying over national parks and game reserves in South Africa, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Soon, they’ll begin flying in Botswana as part of an anti-poaching campaign at that site. 

It is important to donate to MEP because MEP is at the forefront of anti-poaching initiatives that are near to my heart. It’s important that groups like them receive both the money and equipment to fight the illicit wildlife trade industry. It’s getting out of hand and we need to something in the near future. African elephants are in trouble. Each year, tens of thousands of the enormous creatures are killed for their tusks, and conservationists fear they are on the road to extinction. But now, aerial drones, which first proved their value decades ago on military battlefields, are proving to be a key player in the ongoing battle against poachers. For the past four years, anti-poaching drones have been flying over national parks and game reserves in South Africa, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Soon, they’ll begin flying in Botswana as part of an anti-poaching campaign at that site.

The drones, made by the South African company UAV Drone Solutions (UDS), can stay aloft for two-and-a-half hours while relaying live video from their onboard cameras to ground-based crews up to 15 miles away. The crews then share surveillance information and videos with park rangers and local police.  Drone videos haven’t yet resulted in any convictions for poaching in the area. But experts are convinced that the drones have helped deter the poaching of elephants as well as rhinos, which are often killed for their horns.  Many parks and reserves, Elephant and Rhino poaching has dropped significantly. Drones are particularly effective at potting poachers at night, when anti-poaching teams in helicopters are grounded.

There is a lot of interesting applications, while drones alone are not the total answer, they can giver Engineers and Rangers eyes in the sky by feeding thermal images to operators on the ground. Also, park rangers have approximate whereabouts of poachers so they can make a good guess of their destination, saving a great deal of time, rather that laying in wait for where they might be. 

Cost and Benefits    

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

In Conclusion: There are naysayers that say it will never work to save this Great Creature and what works better at night? The alternative is waking up in the morning and count the deceased Elephants.