Learn About Our Latest Partner, The Air Shepherd Initiative!
China, the United States and Vietnam are major, growing markets for elephant ivory and rhino horns. Rhino horns are worth up to $500,000 each, and it is the same situation for elephant tusks and ivory. So much money is in play that terrorists and organized crime syndicates are sponsoring poaching teams.
Over 40,000 elephants were killed by poachers in Africa last year – 100,000 in the last three years. The scale of problem is identical for rhinos. All will be dead in less than a decade at these rates, and unless something changes quickly. Poachers operate at night. Park rangers can’t fly aircraft at night.
Air Shepherd provides a comprehensive drone-based solution that will rapidly and significantly reduce poaching of elephants and rhinos in Africa.
This involves funding and fielding sophisticated 3-aircraft operating teams that work with rangers on the ground. Using predictive analytical capability to determine wildlife patterns, problem areas can be identified on a day-to-day basis. Drones are flown over these high probability areas mostly at night, and rangers are vectored to intercept suspects prior to an incident taking place.
These small (~6 ft wingspan) surveillance drones carry daylight and night vision infra-red cameras, GPS, autopilots, and data transmitting capability. They fly autonomously, are able to see activity on the ground in real time, and can potentially transmit anywhere in the world.
Air Shepherd's partners in South Africa have been developing a drone-based initiative for the last two years. Flying over 1500 missions, there have been NO successful poaching events when and where they fly. ZERO poaching - it works, and it's the ONLY thing that works at this scale.
In February, Air Shepherd and its partners revealed their drone operations to the world, in the first-ever-of-its-kind Launch Event in South Africa.
Since that eventful day, drone teams have been flying nightly across the African skies – in Kruger Park and the KwaZulu-Natal area - protecting rhinos and elephants from would-be poachers.
Air Shepherd is sponsored by The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation, a tax exempt, 501(c)(3), nonprofit corporation, that has provided grants for research to balance technology and the environment for over 35 years.
For discussion around drone use in anti-poaching efforts, visit our anti-poaching discussion thread
Submitted by Jonathan on April 19, 2016 - 4:44pm