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Using drones for wildlife anti-poaching efforts: questions to ask a UAS group

07 / 12 / 2015, Mongabaycom News

Drones On Display The widespread poaching of threatened and endangered species, such as elephants, rhinos, tigers, gorillas, and whales, has brought together conservationists, donors, and technology experts to develop  new solutions to the crisis. All too often, though, a systematic approach for assessing, filtering and testing new systems is disregarded in favor of hasty deployments, without adequate field trials that simulate field and mission conditions day and night, when most poaching occurs. UAVs for anti-poaching require a concerted and systematic approach, with the correct support and logistics management, as well as selection and training of reliable operators to be effective. Reports from companies, projects, and the media on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) (a.k.a. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs, or drones) to combat poaching frequently fail to critically assess these approaches or ask for data. Assessing the effectiveness and viability of the system being presented requires asking a few simple questions. To bring light to this issue, we have developed a guided set of preliminary questions that will help wildlife managers and donors to screen manufacturers’ claims before buying from or partnering with them on anti-poaching activities. They have been developed based on years of experience analyzing defense and security systems for military and wildlife conservation clients in many countries, and we hope that they will help you quickly assess the likely effectiveness and viability of a particular UAS product or project in suppressing poaching. It is important to remember that a UAS is just one component of a complete anti-poaching strategy,…

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