After a pilot project in a protected wildlife area, the drones proved amazingly effective and managed to reduce poaching by 96 percent.
Kenya has dealt with illegal poachers for years. Since 2012, the region has lost 435 elephants and 400 rhinos to poaching.
Kenya is working hard to put an end to the ivory trade, and the government hopes by deploying drones the numbers will drastically decrease.
Paul Udoto, spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife service (KWS), told The Guardian:
“Use of drones has shown that we can prevent poaching and arrest many poachers on their tracks. The pilot project has been a success and we are working with many partners including the Kenya police, the National Intelligence Service, and a lot of international partners such as Interpol, Ugandan and Tanzanian governments.”
The program is estimated to cost about $103 million dollars, and several countries including France, the U.S., the Netherlands, and Canada are said to help with funding.
The drones will use radio frequencies to monitor the movement of wildlife and to spot poachers before they strike.
“The drones will have a capacity to spot the poachers before they even kill an animal. We have tried so many other security measures but they have failed us,” Udoto said. “We plan to reduce poaching activities in all the 52 national parks and wildlife protected areas around Kenya in the next few months.”
So far this year, 51 elephants and 18 rhinos were killed at the hands of poachers. Time will only tell if this new program will end the war on poaching once and for all.
— Cara Meyers, exclusive to Global Animal