South Africa Looks to UAVs to Combat Poaching

1009_thinkstockphotos-186108282 South Africa Looks to UAVs to Combat PoachingSouth African National Parks (SANParks) is in the process of testing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to combat rhino poaching.

According to Kuseni Dlamini, SANParks board chairperson, the group – which manages the country's national parks – is evaluating UAV technology as part of a yearlong project.

“This aims at investigating the effectiveness of various UAV technologies as instruments in rhino-protection efforts under a range of operational conditions,” Dlamini explains. “By the end of the project, we will have a lot of information about the use of available technology in anti-poaching operations and be able to make informed decisions on what is best for our environment.”

SANParks is testing UAVs in Kruger National Park as one component of a suite of anti-poaching initiatives supported by the Rhino Protection Programme – a collaborative effort between the Department of Environmental Affairs, SANParks, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Peace Parks Foundation.

As part of SANPark’s anti-poaching initiative and “in accordance with the much needed aerial support to the anti-poaching teams around the clock,” Dlamini says, the group has received from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation a manned Airbus AS-350B3e helicopter with night-flying capability.

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