Drones, UAVs or Air Rangers may be the solution to stop poachers of endangered rhino and other wildlife species.
Not even a week into 2013 and rangers at Kruger National Park already found their first casualty of the New Year. Near the South African border with Mozambique, the rangers found the carcass of an endangered white rhino. Not far away, the rangers found a high-caliber hunting rifle and a bag full of rhino horns.
South Africa’s largest, and best-known safari destinations, Kruger National Park, covers more than 7500miles. The game reserve (an area of land set aside for conservation purposes) is home to 12,000 white rhino and black rhino, representing some 93% of the species’ world population.
However, these numbers are falling fast…as fast as the rhino hit by poachers’ bullet.
The only hope for the rhino is to catch the poachers before they strike.
Ground surveillance with armed anti-poachers is nearly impossible because of the thick African brush.
A better option?
Aerial surveillance and the use of helicopters. While it covers more area and can see ‘what’s hiding in the brush’ they are noisy.
The best option?
Hoping to push the odds back in favor of the rhino, Peter Milton and his team at SPOTS (Strategic Protection Of Threatened Species), created and developed The Air Ranger.
Created specifically to apprehend rhino poachers, The Air Ranger is a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or drone that acts as a “virtual game ranger in the sky.” The Air Ranger’s best asset is its dual functionality. Equipped with thermal imaging cameras, The Ranger works just as well at night (when most poaching occurs) as it does during the day.
Operating by the light of a full moon, poachers armed with night vision equipment and large, high-caliber rifles, play no favorites when comes to killing rhino. With rhino horns fetching up $82,000 per kilogram, poachers slaughtered 668 (425 at Kruger) rhinos in 2012, up nearly 50% from 2011. In comparison, 200 poachers were caught and, about 30 were killed in skirmishes in 2012.
Score one for the rhinos.
However, it takes a “team” to score.
We invite you to join us in the purchasing of an Air Ranger (around $65,000) to help the rhinos and those fighting to save them, score one over the poachers.
Consider making a donation by clicking on the rhino icon below.
Post by Nikela Volunteer Wendy Sotos
UPDATE: Urgent need for Thermal Imaging Camera.
Immediate donations are going to purchase a thermal imaging camera for Peter and team’s existing Air Ranger.
Thank you to those of you who have already contributed towards the $12,000 needed.