Drones Fight Poachers in AfricaApr 23rd, 2016 | By Michael Bittner | Category: Featured Articles
The Air Shepherd program in Africa is using drones and data analytics to protect rhinos and elephants. Using sophisticated three-aircraft operating teams that work with rangers on the ground, drones are flown over high probability poaching areas, allowing rangers to intercept suspects before a poaching incident occurs.
Air Shepherd drone teams go through months of extensive training and are deployed into areas known for illegal poaching activities. Using intelligence from many sources, infrared-capable drones fly silently at night when poachers operate. Once poachers are spotted on screens in the operation vehicles, rangers are sent to the area to intercept them. The Air Shepherd drones offer more protection to rangers who, while patrolling at night, are exposed to a high level of danger from armed poachers and wild animals.
After extensive testing, it has been shown that when Air Shepherd drones are flying, poaching stops. According to Air Shepherd, the “teams are a highly effective tool that works in conjunction with other methods and capabilities to combat poaching,” but many more teams are needed to address the wide-spread problem.
Air Shepherd held its official program launch in February 2016 with Golden Globe-winning actress Maura Tierney participating. Trained teams cover areas of Kruger Park and KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, but the group is hoping to expand to five other African nations.
To find out how to fund Air Shepherd teams and for more information, visit www.airshepherd.org.
About Lindbergh Foundation’s Air Shepherd Program
Developed by the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation, the Air Shepherd program is using drones and data analytic capabilities to protect rhinos and elephants in Africa. Using sophisticated three-aircraft operating teams that work with rangers on the ground, drones are flown over high probable poaching areas, allowing rangers to intercept suspects before a poaching incident can take place. A 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation, the Lindbergh Foundation has dedicated more than 35 years to sustaining the Lindbergh legacy—using technology to help balance the effects of human development on the environment. For more information and to donate, please visit www.lindberghfoundation.org or www.AirShepherd.org.
Photograph: Elephant by Bettina Schwehn.