The Ol Pejeta Wildlife Sanctuary has a new reason to love technology; they will soon employ the ‘Aerial ranger’ to help them fight poaching in Kenya as well as reduce costs of conducting wildlife census.
The Sanctuary has received legal approval to launch a Ksh3.2 million drone to fight poaching in the 90,000-acre facility.
According to the sanctuary’s spokesperson Elodie Sampere the ‘Aerial ranger’ will be launched in June.
“It has been quite a journey to get to this point and has taken the leading experts in drone technology-Airware Incorporated, countless development hours. The aerial ranger’s software and hardware were developed from scratch. Tests were conducted and we are upbeat, we now have the right drone strong enough to withstand challenging operating conditions,” she said.
On conducting census, the spokesperson said that they hired a light aircraft at Sh18,920 per hour for 13 hours, with the data collected being subjected to a large degree of human error.
“You will simply click a spot on a ‘Google Earth’ style map, and select the ‘fly here’ or ‘point camera here’ option. In the same menu is a ‘return home’ button, which, when clicked, will send the drone back to its launch point without any further instruction. When it has reached its landing spot, it deploys its parachute and floats elegantly to the ground. The beautiful simplicity of the operating system, coupled with sophisticated mission capabilities, was a high priority,” she said.
Ol Pejeta sanctuary was also voted the best managed wildlife conservancy in the world in 2013