Nature and wildlife conservation organisation WWF has put drones to work in a bid to protect animals from poachers in Africa.
WWF Zambia has announced that it is launching a pilot project focusing on the use of drones for environmental monitoring in the Southern Africa nation.
The project is aimed at enabling the Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW) to attain aerial superiority for increased efficiency in detecting and responding to poaching and other threats in the country’s protected areas.
WWF Zambia head of communications and marketing, Eneya Phiri said the project was conceived following the Government’s produced guidelines on the use of UAVs in June 2016.
“The publication of these guidelines provided an opportunity for the Zambian Conservation sector to take advantage of recent advances in drone technology as cost effective and more efficient tools for surveillance, poaching threat detection and wildlife research applications.” Phiri said.
“This technology will go a long way in complementing the efforts of the hard-working men and women who strive every day, risking their lives to protect our country’s iconic wildlife species. It is the way conservation for sustainable development is being conducted in the 21st century and we are proud to be pioneering these efforts in Zambia.” Phiri added.
The pilot project will target DNPW and six of its partners working in five flagship national parks across the country. The drones will be used for surveillance of poaching threats, wildlife surveys and monitoring as well as mitigation of human wildlife conflicts. At the end of the project, the officers involved will be trained and certified to fly UAVs for a wide range of conservation operations such as anti-poaching, wildlife aerial surveys, habitat monitoring and human wildlife conflict mitigation.
If successful, this project will lead to full-scale, game-changing innovative surveillance for protecting Zambia’s iconic species.