Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Conservation observation

Military technology is now being used in the war against poachers of endangered animals. Conservation groups in many parts of the world - Nepal, Kenya, Indonesia – are employing drones to save rhinos, tigers, orangutans, elephants, and other species at risk. The small-scale, remote-controlled "aerial rangers" are affordable and powered by rechargeable batteries. They are light enough to be launched by hand and fly a pre-programmed route of several miles, filming the ground below. Some are equipped with HD cameras and night-vision, and the satellite images can be accessed in real-time. Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya has raised private funds to support their sophisticated drone program: "The drones are fitted with a live streaming HD camera, which is gimbal mounted for 360 degree remote controlled viewing. Each drone can cover 50 miles, and fly for over one and a half hours. Rhino and other endangered species are chipped with radio frequency ID tags. Each chip gives an animal a unique identification number which are tied to databases. Sensors on the drones can then recognize individual animals and use on-board GPS to store an image tagged with location coordinates." Teams can be sent out to apprehend those observed in the process of poaching or habitat destruction.


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