Drones Prove Effective in the Fight against Wildlife Poaching in Kenya

The Kenyan authorities had been desperately trying to find ways to stop the poaching of endangered wildlife species in their country.  References are constantly made in the online media to the slaughter of elephants for their tusks and rhinoceroses for their horns both of which are used to feed the insatiable appetite of the Asian market: the elephant’s tusks for ivory and the rhino’s horn to give a rich gentleman in Asia an erection! Sorry, he can’t be a gentleman and he must have a tiny penis.

African lions protected by drones with cameras

African lions protected by drones with cameras

We all know about drones. They are used extensively by Western governments including the American government to help to resist the spread of terrorism and the activities of terrorists in places like Pakistan and Yemen. Drones are small, remotely controlled aircraft which carry cameras to spy on people and which can also carry rockets to kill people, often indiscriminately. Many innocent lives have been killed by American and British drones.

As controversial as the use of drones is, in this instance it can only be welcome because it has proved extremely difficult to stop poachers killing endangered wild species in Africa because the rewards are so high.

We are told that in a trial run poaching has been reduced by 96%. It seems that the drone has almost put an end to poaching in the trial area. Apparently, this particular drone has a camera which identifies the poachers which in turn stops them.

The Kenyan government is putting a lot of money into this project. I believe that the figure is $103,000,000. America, the Netherlands, Canada and France are assisting financially. There are 52 national parks and reserves in Kenyan and they all require protection.

The protection of endangered wild species in Africa is a world responsibility and I’m pleased to see that these major Western countries are assisting. Now, what about the cats? Well, the lion in Africa is also endangered and so is the cheetah and other African wild cat species such as the caracal. As I understand it, most of the endangerment for wild cat species in Africa comes from habitat loss or, in the case of the cheetah, by farmers who kill it because the cheetah lives on farmland in Botswana, primarily.

The lion is heavily poached in Africa to feed the insatiable Asian marketplace for body parts. I am sorry to keep on mentioning it but the Chinese government and other Asian countries really must get a grip on this because at the moment they are being so irresponsible in failing to protect these magnificent endangered cats.

It has been stated that at the current rate of poaching and habitat loss the African Lion will be extinct in 20 to 40 years. I believe that we can say the same about the Bengal tiger in India.

I would hope that the authorities in India take heed about the use of drones to fight poaching. I wonder if drones could be used to protect the Indian tiger reserves? I suspect that it would be less successful because the tiger lives in forests and jungles whereas the lion prefers to live in open spaces where poachers are unable to hide.

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Drones Prove Effective in the Fight against Wildlife Poaching in Kenya — 10 Comments

  1. Michael they already use drones to protect the tiger and other animals in Nepal. I read a whole article about it. Wish I had the link for you.

  2. Yes – P-L-E-A-S-E, p-u-h-l-e-e-z-e! Would donate my last dime to funding more drones, if there were an address (which there must be). Bring on the drones – but not the kind armed with missiles, or the ones the size of a bumblebee that peek in your window.
    Hi Ruthie and Babz:

    Ruth — you’re PoC’s Chuck Yeager! Read your great contribution on environ. degrad. You took to heart the BOGOFS & the End of the World piece and busted your way through the cat barrier.

    Will try to get up to library this Tues. to check e-mail. (Keep saying that.) Meanwhile,am shoveling & loading hundreds of lbs. of doo for the garden. Rain, hail, wind & thunderstorms today, then 80F. forecast for later this week. xxx
    Howdy Kylie — Your cats were/are fortunate to have you as their Momma.

    When are you going to write again for POC and send some more examples of your great photography? Take care of yourself and your kids, S.
    Thanks, Caroline. Liked your comments, by the way, about cats climbing your nylons, etc. Nice to know you wear jeans, too. When I was eleven, my mother bought and made me wear this infernal pink & white candy-striped dress that – heaven have mercy – just about every other little girl in Seattle was wearing. Lovely to see yourself walking towards you down the street,right? Have always lived in jeans, and like the idea that everyone else – the world over – also wears them.(You can drop the ‘Ann’ by the way. I added it on to avoid confusion with R and B’s former next-door neighbor. (Everyone reach for their vial of smelling salts….)
    Dreyfuss was the best of dogs — a dear old soul. As for a choice — couldn’t do that. It’d be awful as Sophie’s Choice.

  3. Michael, your articles never cease to amaze me. You are so efficient and disciplined. Truly remarkable.

    This P from the National Geographic page on using drones for photographing lions in Tanzania, stood out for me:

    “You don’t want to be looking down on animals. They hate it; it is demeaning to them,” the photographer said in an interview with National Geographic earlier this month. “I couldn’t bear photographing lions looking down on them; it made me sick to my stomach.”

    This drone business has always left a bad taste in my mouth, you know? The hindrance to poachers is significant, and I love that about choosing to creatively attack.

    I cannot relate to this photographer, as I’ve never been in his shoes, but certainly I do respect what he has to say from his experience. I guess, what I’m saying, is that may also be a good use of drones. More importantly though, is to stop the poaching of all wildlife. Thank You for the article.

    • Thank you for the compliment 😉 — quite rare 😉

      I am a bit surprised by what the photographer says. I don’t think it is relevant. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking down on Lions or looking up at them as long as you are saving their lives from poachers!

  4. Its difficult using “DRONES” in Indian forests as the Indian forest topography is different compared to the Savannah grasslands of East Africa. India has dense forest jungles and “Drones” would be useless in photography from the sky.Hopefully the “DRONE” project should be a success in the African Savannah grasslands in curbing poaching.

  5. Since drones can be made of lightweight plastic and fly at low altitudes,they could be brought down by Kalishnikovs or shoulder-mounted rocket launchers. Which is why engineers in Reno are working to perfect drones that fly at 3,000-5,000 ft., and remain aloft for hours instead of one or two hours.[Reno Drone Company Hoping to Protect Wildlife – My News 4 – KRNV.]

    Another website [Here’s a Use of Drones (Nearly) Everyone Will Like|Techdirt] discusses the pros and cons of drones. For example, a global network of volunteers could monitor surveillance screens 24/7 and phone in reports of shady activities. The downside to this is that poachers would find some way or other to trigger false alarms that diverted the monitors from the actual scene of carnage.

    One promising upside is that drones could be programmed to harmlessly disable the getaway vehicles, a critical capability when the rangers could be vast distances away.

    The comments also address the ‘slippery slope’ argument: the potential for abuse of this technology, and the present-day Big Brother lack of privacy for people living out on the veldt deprived of their right not to have drones crisscrossing overhead. (Though human populations would likely be thin near wildlife preserves.)

    Notwithstanding the ethical quandaries, it might hold promise for open areas. Right now, though – putting aside the massacre of lions and tigers, et al. – the plight of the elephants is so appalling they’re raping rhinos in their confusion, their matriarchal clans are disintegrating, and their genetic diversity is dwindling.

    Anyone who wants to help fund the cost of this endeavor might be able to do so by contacting the WWF.

  6. heya ill do that soon syliva i just had my birthday so will do that soon. SO good to have some inspirational. I agree such a wonderful idea about drones and i could help give some money what little i do have.

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