Drones will soon fill the skies above Kenya’s 52 national parks and reserves, after a successful pilot program showed that they’re effective at stopping poachers. Very effective: In the pilot program, drones reduced poaching by a remarkable 96 per cent.
Of course, the drones have some help. “Use of drones has shown that we can prevent poaching and arrest many poachers on their tracks,” Paul Udoto, spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), told The Guardian. “The pilot project has been a success and we are working with many partners including the Kenya police, the National Intelligence Service, and a lot of international partners such as Interpol, Ugandan and Tanzanian governments.” The drones themselves use radio frequencies to monitor the movement of the wildlife and spot poachers before they strike.
Using drones to monitor wildlife is nothing new, but this is one of the first statistics showing the efficacy of such a program. While poachers have killed 435 elephants and about 400 rhinos in Kenya since 2012, only 51 elephants and 18 rhinos have been lost this year. We’ll soon see if the program will actually scale. [Guardian]