KZN conservation agency partners in UAV project to combat rhino poaching
Rhino protection efforts in Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife reserves received vital support this month with the launch of the Air Shepherd UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) project – a partnership between the Lindbergh Foundation, Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) and the provincial conservation agency. This project funds and co-ordinates an initial 14 month plan for the operational testing and deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as an aerial support tool to assist counter-poaching teams on the ground. As poachers become increasingly sophisticated, conservation agencies in turn have to level the playing field with technology that transcends human limitations and spatial challenges. Ezemvelo chief executive Dr David Mabunda said: “Ezemvelo is excited about the Air Shepherd project. It is my belief that to fight the scourge of rhino poaching we need to be more innovative and never cease investigating the potential of emerging technologies. “Although there is no one method that will be the silver bullet putting an end to poaching, UAVs usefully complement the multi-pronged counter-poaching strategies Ezemvelo is implementing.