Share

Eyes in the Skies: Drones Join the Fight to Save Wildlife

By Laura Dattaro
Published: May 6, 2014

Kenya's National Parks

Aerial view of elephants fighting in Kenya's Amboseli National Park. (Steve Bloom Images/Alamy)

As elephants and rhinos continue to fall prey to poachers seeking to sell their tusks, the need for new ways to track, find and stop poachers becomes ever more urgent. In Kenya alone, poachers killed 89 rhinos and 686 elephants in 2012 and 2013, Reuters reports.

Species around the world face these and more threats. One of the best new technologies in the fight to protect wildlife is the unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone. Without the need for a pilot on board, drones can fly into dangerous areas and can keep an eye on the wild around the clock.

Some groups looking into the use of drones for conservation have already reported early successes. And when wildlife photographers get their hands on the technology, the results can be truly stunning. Here we take a look at some of the innovative ways drones are being used to monitor, protect and appreciate wildlife.

First off, Kenya's national park system.

After a wildly successful pilot program that reduced poaching by 96 percent in a protected wildlife area, Kenya is going full on with its commitment to drones as a tool for poaching prevention. The country’s wildlife service is set to deploy drones in all 52 of its national parks, The Guardian reports, allowing rangers to spot poachers before they attack. “We have tried so many other security measures, but they have failed us,” Kenya Wildlife Service spokesperson Paul Udoto told The Guardian. The drone presence is deterring many poachers, Udoto says, and making it far easier to find the ones who still try. 

NEXT: Only seven left on Earth


Featured Blogs

93L in Eastern Atlantic Growing More Organized

By Dr. Jeff Masters
July 28, 2014

An area of disturbed weather located near 10°N, 33°W at 8 am EDT Monday, about 500 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, was designated Invest 93L by NHC early Monday morning. This disturbance is a more serious threat than Tropical Depression Two of last week, and has the potential to develop into a strong tropical storm before reaching the Lesser Antilles Islands on Friday or Saturday.

June 2014 Global Weather Extremes Summary

By Christopher C. Burt
July 26, 2014

June was globally the warmest such on record according to NOAA/NCDC. See Jeff Master’s blog about this posted last Thursday. The month featured heat waves in portions of Japan, China, Western Europe, Central Asia, and Mexico. Late season cold and even some snowfall were observed in Estonia, Russia, and Scandinavia mid-month. Deadly flooding occurred in Bulgaria, Paraguay, Afghanistan, India and Sri Lanka. An intense dust storm struck Tehran, Iran on June 2nd. Yet another intense hurricane (Cristina) formed in the Eastern Pacific.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.