GOOGLE COMES TO THE AID OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Google’s Global Impact Award Programme has given the World Wide Fund for Nature, in short WWF, a grant of 5 million US Dollars, assisting in the tracking and protection of endangered species via remote operated drones. The UAV’s could soon be deployed over poaching hotspots, linked to radio collared animals, able to have eyes in the skies above them and spotting poachers on foot or by vehicle approach.
UAV technology today is able to secure facial recognition as well as identify vehicle registration numbers and vehicle markings, evidence which can later be used in court to convict the criminals involved in the unprecedented slaughter of wildlife across much of sub Saharan Africa.
Current estimates speak of nearly 600 rhinos killed in South Africa alone this year as well as in excess of 20.000 elephant killed for their tusks and wildlife conservation NGO’s have been at the forefront lobbying global business leaders to come out in support, morally and materially, to stem the slaughter and preserve Africa’s and Asia’s dwindling wildlife resources for future generations. Google’s donation to WWF is seen as a gift to wildlife conservation at large and it is hoped that other global corporate giants will follow suit and also help in funding hugely expensive solutions to monitor endangered wildlife and finance 24/7 surveillance, something ‘drones’ are now able to offer, but at a cost.
East African wildlife NGO’s have yet to catch on to this technology and find ways and means to substitute aerial daytime surveillance by fixed wing aircraft with UAV technology, to cover a wider radius of operations and by using infra red cameras at night to continue watching from the sky, something light aircraft operations is unable to assure. Watch this space for announcements and future developments