Monday, March 13, 2017

High Above, Drones Keep Watchful Eyes on Wildlife in Africa; New York Times, March 13, 2017

Rachel Nuwer, New York Times; 

High Above, Drones Keep Watchful Eyes on Wildlife in Africa

"Perhaps the biggest challenge is that conservationists do not know how to most effectively put anti-poaching drones to use, because there have been no rigorous long-term evaluations.

South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research conducted a two-month trial with U.D.S. and concluded that the technology is “a remarkable support tool,” but officials have yet to release the data supporting those findings.

Most evidence supporting drones is anecdotal: Mr. Coetzee said he has seen a significant reduction in park incursions when and where drones fly, but added that other factors could have been at play. Drones may deter trespassers, he said, but they may simply go elsewhere in the reserve.

W.W.F. plans to tease out the answers to these questions by evaluating the drones’ effectiveness against poachers here in Liwonde."

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