Drones Deployed to Defend Wildlife

Try as they might, hard-working wildlife officials cannot be everywhere at once. In remote areas, it is a depressingly familiar scenario for such officials to come upon grisly crime scenes strewn with the bodies of wantonly slaughtered animals. By the time they arrive, the killers have long since fled and the damage has been done.

Soon, India and possibly other governments will begin to deploy eyes in the sky—seeking to dramatically extend their vision via unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones. Lian Pin Koh, cofounder of the nonprofit Conservation Drones, has designed a UAV with a 33-inch wingspan and equipped with a high-powered GoPro camera that allows for a dramatic expansion of ground covered in scanning for trouble. Starting in January 2015, officials in 10 Indian regions where tigers are most at risk will begin a pilot program to police the areas from above. Other countries are said to be considering this option to keep watch over wildlife, as well.