Spanish engineers have developed a UAS for use in African National Parks to help rangers monitor Rhinos and other wildlife that are at risk of poaching. The fixed wing aircraft is equipped with a thermal camera to detect poachers at night. The system uses autopilot and GPS to run missions and locate poachers. 388 rhinos were killed in 2012, up from 122 in 2012. Rhino horn is an unproven delicacy in traditional Asian medicine. Using UAS is much cheaper and easier to maintain than a fleet of helicopters and planes. UAS allow rangers to cheaply and quickly survey their parks for poachers at a fraction of the cost of helicopters. Kenya is currently using drones designed by a US Company to combat poachers, and the Spanish engineers hope to bring their UAS to use in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and South Africa. Elsewhere in Nepal and Namibia the World Wildlife Fund is testing the use of UAS with a $5 million grant from Google.
Sources: NBC News Reuters