International Anti Poaching Foundation needs this community's help


Hello to all. This is my first post and I am hoping to raise some awareness of how UAV's can help in the fight against poaching. There is an organisation called the International Anti Poaching Foundation (IAPF) which is dedicated to stopping the slaughter of endangered species in Africa. Some of the videos on the website made me sick, to think poachers kill these magnificent animals just for their tusks and horns that are used in useless Chinese remedies is nothing short of a disgrace and travesty on the human race.

These guys are just starting to use drones to track poachers and they need our help. They currently have 2 in the air and are in the process of preparing another 5. This is their own UAV program and is fully funded by donations. If you are truly interested in taking your drone skills to the ultimate level then please do what you can to help. Make no mistake about it, this is a war they are fighting. Hunting and capturing poachers and protecting wildlife is a full time job. The organisation is run by an ex SAS (Special Forces) soldier from the Australian Army. Some of the accounts from engagements with poachers are terrifying and usually end in shoot outs no different to a warfare situation. Rangers have been killed trying to protect these animals. The 2 drones they do have have saved their lives many times.

As an ex Royal Australian Air Force missile engineer I am just starting to help them out and I will do whatever I can. But as a newbie to the drone community I am here to get information and toss some ideas around, raise awareness and also see what equipment people are willing to donate or to help out in whatever way they can. There are 39000 members of this community, if 1 in 1000 can help out even in the smallest way you can contribute, the difference you will make will be greatly appreciated.

Flying a drone around the neighbourhood is fun but to lend our skills to this, to me is the ultimate use of this technology and my years of training in guided missile electronics and control systems. Please contribute anyway you can.

So its over to you guys and lets see what we can do.

Comments please

Best Regards

Michael

Views: 3425

Comment by Luca Mariotti on June 22, 2013 at 8:25am

I need to contact you by e-mail, please accept the friendship

Comment by Chuck on June 22, 2013 at 9:22am

You guys may want to check out what Wayne Garris over at http://hobbyuav.com/tag/techpod/ is doing, right now they have 2-3 hour flight times, and there was mention of a composite model coming. Would make these about $2000 loaded with 3 hour flight times.  

There have been videos posted here of FLIR setups, if you could mount a FLIR and use OpenCV you can auto identify heat signatures to be classified by a ground crew and provide alerts to rangers on the ground when it appears objects have a trajectory towards a specified GPS location.

I would be willing to provide programming support for a project of this sort.

Comment by Oliver on June 22, 2013 at 9:39am

Michael, there is no general restriction here on posting links. So here is the link to the International Anti Poaching Foundation (IAPF) page about their drone program: http://www.iapf.org/en/campaigns/iapfdrone . There have been numerous casual references here to the use of drones for wildlife management but having this specific information is great. I expect that you'll get both technical help and donations here, not only because of the important work itself but also because it is in the self-interest of this community to highlight a use of UAVs that is so dramatic and at the same time is something that is very difficult for the "anti-drone" crowd to criticize. 

I'm putting my money where my mouth is and making a donation via the IAPF Web site. I'm going to leave a comment there that the donation comes from a member here,  I hope a lot of others who are here will do the same.

Maybe you could put a link to here up on your drone program page. Also, the structure here is such that posts flow by and sort of vanish into a bottomless pit. Posting updates as a new blog can help keep awareness up... 

   

Comment by Rodrigo cancino c on June 22, 2013 at 10:07am

be interested in helping, I have a uav x8, and I am electronic engineer in air force my e mail is rodrigo.cancinoc @ gmail.com

Comment by Nathan DuCray on June 22, 2013 at 10:41am
Good to see awareness of this issue here. I'm ex-navy, electronics, missiles, fire control. It should not be too difficult to setup a system to launch and recover the drones with minimal human effort. I'm down to help out. Nathan.ducray@gmail.com
Comment by Bertold on June 22, 2013 at 11:43am

Very interesting. I'm a university master student (PhD next year). I have quite some professional and hobby experience designing analog and digital communication systems.

I am actually wondering how you handle the communication with the drone? Traditional control and video links as typically used on this site are very easy to detect (and jam) with hardware that can be bought on eBay for less than 100$. Seeing the value of the poached wares (and the value of staying out of jail), I suspect that this may become a problem in the future if the drone approach is successful.

Do the poachers use radio equipment, such as walkie talkies? Locating the signal from the air is relatively simple. Multipath propagation is a non issue since line of sight is guaranteed. A single transmission lasting less than a second already yields a relatively good position estimate if it is nearby, and certainly yields a useful bearing to get closer.

I feel computer vision should make it possible to automatically monitor the camera images (I imagine sitting behind a monitor for hours looking at very boring video is no fun). Especially if you have a FLIR sensor since living things will light up, making simple blob detection sufficient. I am sure if you upload some example pictures made by the drone many experts on this site will be able to point you in the right direction.


Admin
Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on June 22, 2013 at 1:40pm

It is nice to see members rising to the occasion here!!!!

Regards,

TCIII

Comment by HeliStorm on June 22, 2013 at 1:56pm
I have a particular interest in search and rescue type applications of UAS. This organization is doing search and, I assume, apprehend. Very similar means to slightly different ends. I would love to help.
Comment by Nathan DuCray on June 22, 2013 at 4:58pm
Bertold makes some really good points about tracking radios. That should be considered as perhaps a secondary mission for the drone. If i was a smart poacher i would not be using a radio, so i would think flir would be the primary aquisition strategy. But it would be nice to locate those folks who are not as smart beyond visual range. Any radio should be able to be detected at distances that exceed its normal effective transmission distance.
Comment by Nathan DuCray on June 22, 2013 at 6:44pm
However, to your points about jamming, while i agree with you, i think this is a relatively minor risk. There is probably a limited time period before the poachers figure that out but i think there is time to make a difference.

Not to mention any jamming system would have a limited range and these drones can fly a route with only gps info (i.e. harder to jam). So as long as the target information can be cached on the drone it could be downloaded upon landing. Information that is a couple hours old could still be incredibly helpful. Just need to set your search area wider to compensate for the potential information delay.

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