Montag, 18. Februar 2013


Poaching is a major threat to wild animals. Drones would be a means to hunt down poachers and prevent them from killing animals from endangered species to harvest their horn, skin or other body parts. 
CC BY-ND 2.0, by Laurens from Crazy Creatures, flickr

He supported his rifle on a branch of the tree which had provided him with shadow for the last hours. His off-roader was parked just a few steps away beside him. He looked through the telescope and found the Rhino. He adjusted the rifle on his shoulder and put the animal into the cross-hair. He aimed for the shoulder blades and then a bit left towards the neck. 

One clean shot and he'll gonna make a little fortune. A good income. It was a great month so far. He had already gotten another Rhino ten days earlier. He'd cut the horn and he'd left all the rest to rot in the hot sun. It was useless to him. He wouldn't get any money from that. He sold the horn for a good price to a retailer who searched for international customers, mostly chinese TCM "doctors" or some rich guy who believed in TCM. Maybe he'd cut some skin off the animal which would be sold in small pieces as souvenirs to whomever had enough money left and got thrilled when seeing a piece of dead, nearly extinct animal. He'd heard, that the horn ---if crushed--- could make a better price than even gold. 

It would really be a great month. He felt the burst of excitation that always rose up shortly before the shot. Then there was a whirring sound. Panic! It seemed that it wouldn't be such a good month after all. There was only one chance left, a good shot, a master's shot. He turned around to where from he had perceived the whir. There he saw it, the drone was approaching. He lifted his rifle, shot - and missed. Then there was a little burst of fire below the drone. The small rocket left a trace of smoke. This was the last thing he perceived. He was dead before he could consciously feel the explosion. The car and the tree lit up as well. The explosion scared all the animals in the area and caused them to run fast. The rhino ran as well. 

Poaching the poachers

Violence is usually not an educated answer, but sadly sometimes it is the only answer which leads to viable results. Year after year species are brought close to extinction, some are extinct entirely. Reduction of zones on which animals like lions, tigers, elephants, rhinos many other species can roam, hunt, eat, mate without the interference of humans is an important contribution to the reductions in population sizes of these animals. The most senseless thing which is done and which brings the remaining small populations over the edge into extinction is poaching.

The best solution would be to go for those people who are the final buyers of the animal products coming from poaching and the retailers and thus eradicate the market. But those people are either rich, or in countries where the protection of animals is not on the top of the priorities. And there are many potential buyers. Hence, even if we could get a bunch of them, there would be still so many left who'd buy the horn, testicles, etc. The other place where poaching could be intercepted is at the place of origin of the animals. The problem there is the immense area which has to be monitored. The notorious lack of money and means for the protection of animals is countered by the large amount of money which can be gained by poaching these animals.

 A larger area has to be monitored, and it has to be done cheaper. That's where drones come into play. Compared to people, drones can be deployed much easier, they can watch large areas, they don't need pilots seated on the plane. Drones can be equipped with powerful weapons which are largely sufficient to counter the poacher's arms and they can stay a long time in the air. Given that about one third of all US military planes are already unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), using some of them for going after poachers would not decrease the usual military use significantly. The US could therefore help out the affected countries of there would be the political will. I urge to create the political will to take action!

You are very welcome to leave your comments! Let me know what you think.

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Poaching by Peter Speckmayer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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