Project Animal(s) : Elephant, Rhinoceros
Project Category : Mammals
Project Region : Africa
Project Type : Conservation
Project URL : http://airshepherd.org/
Project is timebound? : No
China and Vietnam are major, growing markets for elephant tusks and rhino horns. Rhino horns and elephant tusks are worth up to $75,000 each. So much money is in play that terrorist and organized crime organizations are sponsoring poaching teams. Over 40,000 elephants were killed by poachers in Africa last year – 100,000 in last three years. At these rates, all African elephants will be dead in less than a decade. The problem with Rhinos is on a similar scale.
The challenge is that poachers operate at night and Park Rangers can’t fly at night. Our program provides a comprehensive drone-based solution that will rapidly and significantly reduce poaching of elephants and rhinos in Africa. Fund and field sophisticated 3-aircraft operating teams that work with Rangers on the ground. Use supercomputer-based predictive system (with 90% accuracy) developed by University of Maryland for U.S. military for finding roadside bombs in Iraq, now adapted to poaching problem. Highly accurate in predicting potential problem areas on changing, day-to-day basis. Fly drones over high probability areas mostly at night – vector rangers in to intercept suspects.
Small (~6 ft wingspan), surveillance drones that carry daylight and infrared (night) cameras, GPS, autopilots, and data transmitting capability. These drones are equipped with autonomous (no need to fly) control. They are able to see activity on the ground in real time and transmit anywhere in world. Daily activity sent to Univ. of Maryland to update knowledgebase.
Only team with permission to fly drones. Presently flying in South Africa and are told that we will be given permission soon to fly in Kenya.
In addition to Kenya and South Africa, asked by five other African countries to provide similar services. Will refine operations in South Africa and Kenya and then export to other countries as quickly as funding will allow.
Project Agency : The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation
Project Agency Contact : http://lindberghfoundation.org/