Ol Pejeta eyes drone technology to save rhinos
24 July 2014, 11:07
Nairobi - Ol Pejeta Conservancy, East Africa’s largest black rhino sanctuary, could soon be employing state-of-the-art drone technology to curb rampant poaching of the endangered species.
This follows a partnership between the Laikipia County-based conservancy with drone-manufacturing company, Airware.
The American drone manufacturer has just concluded a ten-day testing of their drones at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which its team termed as a success.
Although the drone conducts sophisticated missions, it requires only minimal training.
A ranger can easily configure a flight plan using a simple mapping interface and launch a flight that is autonomous from launch to recovery.
As it collects images as well as real-time video, the ranger can tell the aircraft where to go and where to point the camera.
“The Airware control system is outstanding. It is so easy when something like this works, to take it for granted. This over delivered on my expectations in terms of both simplicity of use and sophistication of capabilities,” said Robert Breare, Commercial Director of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Airware’s team was thrilled with the autopilot platform’s performance during its two weeks at Ol Pejeta.
“It surpassed all of our expectations. We still have more development to do but we are extremely encouraged and quite proud to be pioneering drones that can preserve some of our planet’s most threatened species,” said Airware Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Downey.
Meanwhile, the move to use drones might face resistance from government.
Government in June opposed the use of drones in dealing with poaching saying such equipment posed a security risk.
– CAJ News
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