A company from Raglan, New Zealand, has designed drones dedicated to the protection of endangering southern white and black rhinos in South Africa.
The company, Aeronavics, specializes in producing air robots for various purposes, including mapping, surveillance, agriculture or media. A few years ago Aeronavics was approached by the Tusk and Horn Wildlife Trust to get on board and use their UAVs to combat illegal game poaching in South Africa.
Since the company was involved a year and a half ago, it has worked on prototypes that can work effectively at night to check for the presence of poachers. As soon as a drone detects the presence of a poacher, the drone operator can warn the rest of the poaching team as soon as possible to the location of the hunters.
The model that Aeronavics considers most suitable for the purpose of poaching is a quadcopter capable of flying 45 minutes. It can also withstand strong winds or other adverse weather conditions without losing the connection with the driver. The company's director, Linda Bulk, was interviewed on the radio in New Zealand and told how the company was looking to expand the range of their drones from the current range of 4-5 km (2.5 – 3). , 1 mile) to a final 100 km (60 miles)
In preparation for making this drone, Aeronavics staff were given the opportunity to fly to South Africa to see the negative effects of poaching.
"It was heartbreaking to see this beautiful creature lie helpless on the ground, stupefied but conscious, while his pride and glory, his defining characteristic, was cut from his head," she told the New Zealand Bode.
The most recent available estimates are that 18,000 white rhinoceroses and 5,500 black rhinos still live in the wild. Slightly more than 1,000 rhinos were illegally hunted and killed in South Africa last year. South African rhinos are sought by poachers because of the demand from the flourishing illegal trade in rhino horns in China. Rhinoceros from the present time are often fraudulently sold as old products in antique shops. The horns are also ground in the wrong belief that they possess healing powers.
The illegal trade in rhinoceros horns is so great that, in order to save rhino lives, some animal parks stun the rhinoceros and turn their horns off to discourage poachers. Aeronavics is now working on a strategy to make it possible to use drones on a larger scale.
Read more about ways in which drones work forever, read this story about how drones help fight plastic pollution on beaches. You can also learn about a great documentary called Elevation, which explores all the sweeping ways in which drones change the world.