I'm working for environmental and anti poaching organizations in Africa. The problem is that there is often not enough personnel to patrol the entire area. We're loosing a lot of game.

We're therefore looking for a low cost, affordable reconnaissance UAVs as an alternative to more expensive existing UAV systems or manned airplanes.

It should possess the following attibutes: 

- operational range of 3 km

- weatherproof design that can resist hot temperatures



- real time video transmission

- cost between $1000 - $ 3000

Could you recommend us any models? 

Thank you, man! Your help is greatly appreciated!

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I work in a wildlife reserve in South Africa. Poaching is an ever-present threat. The ONLY way I can see UAV's working in anti-poaching is for it to act as a deterrent by VISIBLY and NOISILY patrolling the area by air. And this is only for casual/subsistence poachers who put out snares or hunt small game on foot/with dogs and for the opportunists that try for Rhino. The organised crime-affiliated ones are another story, going mostly for rhino horn ($60 000 a kg) and elephant ivory (they have used helicopters at night in the past) - they will laugh at a UAV (...unless it has GUNS!).

Poachers also adapt very quickly. A poacher can hide from a UAV very easily by just going behind or under a bush and unless you have very expensive FLIR equipment and know exactly where to look in thousands of square miles of bush your chances are almost nil of seeing him never-mind catching him. A poaching camp can be camouflaged just as easily, poachers can hop back over the fence in minutes and disappear into the surrounding communities. Snares are impossible to see from the air. Video from the air is too low a resolution to be effective to see a human in the bush (I fly FPV - I know), even full HD is no match for a human eye - and getting full HD to the ground is a bit expensive. You'll need rugged aircraft, trained flight/observation personnel, trained maintenance personnel and almost permanent good weather - the bush is a harsh, unforgiving environment.

I'd love to use a UAV to try curb poaching but I'm sorry I don't believe it'll work.

A night reconnaisance mission with a relatlively low-res IR over a video downlink might help in establishing campsites in the area of interest, if camping is indeed what poachers do.  A waypoint-guided UAV is ideal for this type of thing since it's not dependent on VFR (except perhaps legally).

Graham might be right that it mightn't work, but it might and you could have a lot of fun trying!

design a small sat phone with gps that is solar powered and attach it to the elephants and rhinos that can detect gunshots and call for help.  don't track the hunter, track the prey and you find the hunter.  Sure if you base the trigger off of gunshots its too late for the animal but depending on your response time you could capture the poacher... just my $0.02

I'm with Graham and have some other ideas for UAS, but you would be fairly silly publishing what you plan to do here or anywhere else.

There are ways and persistence I believe is the key. Thats all I will say. We live in a CSI world where people believe UAS can do lots more than they actually can. They can do some interesting things, but the infrastructure that you need starts at $100k plus and needs trained people thats before you buy any airframes. You won't spot a bad guy from the air without spending an ultralight amount of money at a minimum.

Make sure you don't start a runaway fire with a lipo ;-)

Also working with environmental tasks over here, but keep it low ;-)

But how about this project?


This guy seems to exactly do what I'm aiming at.

Conservation - yes, anti-poaching - no

Poachers are clever, devious, adaptable and agile. Drones are none of those.

If you take photos, by the time you analyse 100's of photos the poacher has already shot the rhino, hacked it's horn off and is across the fence, selling the horn, by that time it's far too late. Better to put the money and time into educating the people who are buying the rhino horn because they believe it has medicinal properties. South Africa has had 110+ rhino's killed since the start of this year. 448 were killed last year, that's averaging 1.2 every single day! http://www.stoprhinopoaching.com/

Good point. Poachers are armed...our UAVs are not exactly quiet either...  they would make nice targets.

A person who has just brought down an elephant illegally, wouldn't think twice about a screaming ArduCopter, especially after killing an unarmed ranger...

Poachers slaughter half the elephant population in African Reserve.

I think the poachers should be killed. The word will spread. We are all trying to save the animals which are being killed, we should do what the poachers are doing to the animals, kill the poachers. Yes it sounds harsh but it will work.

It's all about the money. It doesn't matter how much you educate them, money is what keeps their families alive. The people on this planet have caused the problem by making money more important than life.

To save the animals the only thing to do is cut the horns off the animals before the poachers can.

We have made food expensive so how can you blame them.

Until we are all ready to change how the planet works it will never stop. The very people that work in the game parks are the ones doing the poaching.

Even if you cut the horns off the rhinos, they are still a lot of saleable bushmeat on the hoof.

   As to educating Chinese etc about the expensive but useless rhino horn and tiger bone medicines, you think that hasnt been tried? You could always try prayer of course?

what about a blimp with solar panels u chould cover a large area with no flying skill low mait. then shoot them in the face and pray for them, just a thought

Thanks for the laugh. Shoot then Pray. That's a great idea.  You could also cut the Rhino horn off, sell it and with the money feed the poachers?

your welcome,ment to say tethered,a eye in the sky, launch a glider, just thinking,I whould really like to think of somthing that whould help,sorry for jumping in on your thread

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