WILDLIFE & GAME MONITORING
Wildlife control is the method by which the position and health of wildlife and game are monitored. Methods typically vary depending on the size of the area and the number of wild animals, but all methods should be capable of obtaining information regarding the position and condition of the game.
The tracking, monitoring, and inspection of wildlife across a large area can present challenges relating to time and efficiency. Many gamekeepers use GPS to track their animals, but they still need to physically go to the animal to inspect it, so this method isn’t all that efficient.
BENEFITS OF DRONES IN LIVESTOCK MONITORING:
One of the most efficient ways in which to monitor game is via wildlife drones. These small unmanned aerial systems (sUASs), also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have a number of advantages for gamekeepers:
- Drone wildlife monitoring allows you to cover larger areas and enables quick and efficient monitoring of wildlife
- They provide GPS location and visual information to aid in wildlife inspection
- They have a low noise footprint which does not scare the animals
- Conservation drones can be equipped with different types of cameras and sensors, including thermal, providing complete and accurate information
- UAV animal tracking allows for the surveillance of large spaces, even during the night
- UAVs can gather footage and compare the results over time, allowing trends and patterns to be identified
- Drones are becoming a popular choice for conservation purposes as they enable gamekeepers to watch out for poachers, keep tabs on the wildlife, monitor the size of the wildlife population, and protect the landscape. In fact, a UAV wildlife survey is often much more effective than those carried out on the ground by conservationists.
Poaching entails the illegal hunting, capturing or killing of non-domestic animals. Acts of poaching encompass failure to comply with the endangered species act, hunting without a license, hunting with illegal methods or hunting at illegal locations. Rhino poaching numbers have escalated in recent years as the demand for rhino horn in China and Vietnam continues, and various methods have been trialed in a bid to combat poaching. Hidden cameras, GPS tracking, satellite imagery, predictive analysis, and hidden cameras have all been used by gamekeepers, but the method that consistently has the best results is the use of drones.
Counter poaching measures include patrolling national parks and habitats to protect the animals, discouraging poaching by removing horns preventively and tracking poachers. Since poaching is generally related to large habitats and parks, the close surveillance and monitoring of parks are difficult. Aerial surveillance with helicopters can improve protection measures substantially, however due to the high costs of helicopters, it is rarely a viable option.
An efficient solution to this problem is employing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to perform aerial surveillance. UAS can be equipped with cameras, thermal sensors and sniffers to detect poachers and hazardous gasses. The advantage of UAS is that they can cover large areas, yet cost only a fraction of helicopters, can be kept and carried on site and have a very low noise footprint which doesn’t disturb the animals or alert the poachers.