Drones With 4K Cameras Help Stamp Out Poaching In South Africa
In the past Drones have been used to ward off elephants from approaching and even destroying crops because to Elephants the Drones sound like angry Bees which the Elephants generally want to avoid.
But now, it appears that Drones With 4K Cameras are being put to even better use because with the longer flight times plus the excellent Cameras fitted to them, it has been established that Drones can not only help track the movement of the Elephants, but they can also be on the lookout for the illegal practice or Ivory Poaching which still prevails to this day.
Since the rise in off-the-shelf UAVs plus them being fitted with Wi-Fi Cameras, it is easy to gain a bird’s eye view for several miles. Drones are already being used to search for people or even bodies using infra-red cameras or filters. So why not put these fantastic and now readily available Drones to such a good use.
One such operation in Kenya began using Drones with 4KCameras to ward off Elephant Poaching back in 2012. The Mara Elephant Project or (MEP) as it is known, is a Non-Profit Organization working out of Kenya.
According to The Mara Elephant Project, an African elephant is poached every 15 minutes, so they will be expected to go extinct by 2030 if nothing is done to prevent them from being butchered alive for their ivory. Currently, Ivory is being sold for around $3000 per pound in China, so two imported tusks can fetch
up to $200,000. MEP also stated that the illegal ivory trade is connected to terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab. The largest market for Ivory is said to be China for some reason.
The MEP helped by increasing numbers of Wardens year on year together with their quick reaction force can cover wide areas and their success in whatever shape it comes has led to a significant decrease in the number of Elephants being killed from over thirty in 2015 to 17 in 2017, but it appears to be on the increase once again as demand for ivory is growing.
Video Courtessy of wildlife-pictures-online.com
Can Drones Really Aid Elephant Poaching?
Drones with 4K Cameras are just one tool used by MEP, 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 has 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.
The MEP Project also uses other means to track and capture poachers, and while they would gladly like to get them locked up before the Elephants are killed, it is a sad fact that it is the elephant carcases which alert the authorities to the fact that poaching has once again occurred.
But during their years The MEP haven been responsible for 316 Arrests and often successful prosecutions. They have also been able to recover 2507 lbs (1137 kgs) of Ivory, this gives me a double-edged feeling because it obviously means these Magnificent Creatures have been slaughters for nothing more than their tusks which is then sold on by the poachers to make trinkets and ornaments for those rich enough and ignorant enough to buy them.
It is people like these who should be locked up, because without willing buyers, there would be no ivory trade. I’m all for anything that helps to stamp out Ivory Poaching including the use of drones, its just a pity that we can’t use Military Drones to do this kind of work where the poachers can instantly be targeted before any of the Elephants are harmed.
It would certainly make any would be poacher think twice before he would be brave enough to risk that kind of punishment. I couldn’t think of a more fitting end.
However, please be aware that the above comments regarding the use of Military Drones is my own personal view
A local businessman Brett Velicovich donated consumer drones like a DJI Mavic Pro and even military-grade UAVs equipped with the same type of technology that helped capture terrorist leaders from organizations like ISIS and Al Qaeda.
With these modern Drones being relatively easy to fly, it is simply a few hours training and technical guidance required before the Ranger can be deployed with his Drone.
For more information on the Elephants Crisis you can get it here. https://maraelephantproject.org/the-crisis/the-elephants-we-protect/