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


E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Tyrell,
    Send me an email at

  • I have a project which I'm working on. I noticed that there was a FLIR sticker on your drone. Is it quipped with a Thermal Camera? Is FLIR interested in making the cameras available if the UAVs are able to make full use of its functions? 

    Please see Project Arrow


  • Zedtwitz, we started using Flir TAU 640 cores however we are currently investigating the Quark series of similar resolution.

  • here is a very relevant link . www.conservationdrones.org

    the socio-economic issues of poaching are out os scope this blog. this blog covers affordable drone technology and contribution.

  • G'day guys,

    I'd like to follow up Simon's thanks here. Michael, you have obviously touched a chord in this community and it is very gratifying to see the support and intelligence behind the comments so far.

    This is a UAV technical forum, so the bits of the IAPF you will see on display here are the UAV-centric ones. Some of you have identified a few of the social and cultural issues that drive poaching and as Simon has said, improving the effectiveness of enforcement is just one part of the IAPF mission.

    Adding an effective ISR capability to support the ground rangers will be a game changer in this endeavour, and that is what the IAPF UAV program seeks to do. To be an effective ISR asset in the areas we are talking about a drone must have endurance, payload capacity and reliability. Below 400' VLOS just doesn't cut it over half a million acres......

    There must also be a fleet of them, and they must be supported by skilled payload operators and be working to a plan that integrates the data they provide into the ground operation. In the bigger scheme of things the drone itself is merely an interesting sensor platform, albeit one that spawns a raft of export control and flight authorisation issues.

    I have followed the DIY Drones forum from a distance for some time and having dabbled in a lot of the areas you guys are working on over the years I am in genuine awe of the talents on display here. I admire greatly the spirit of cooperation and the pushing of the boundaries which happens from within this community. This is important stuff.

    For the IAPF now the greatest need is perhaps for those of you who are looking for a slightly different challenge, with a few more constraints and a shift of focus away from the "personal" drone to the "small organisation" drone.

    Anyone with good long range digital comms experience, analysis of IR video, RF spectrum management and licensing in small African countries (seriously!), we need you. Likewise any experience on the operational side, commercial or military that can feed our operation planning will be most welcome.

    Anyone with huge amounts of cash wanting to help out need not have any other skills at all ! 

    Let me stress here that any of you are most welcome to contact us via PM here or email through the IAPF website even if just to ask a question or two about what we are doing.


    Thanks again to all who have wished us well in our venture and keep on getting those birds into the air, in whatever form.


    p.s. I really do love animals but Orville never fails to crack me up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbwkhi2P3w8


  • Hello all, 

    First off can I thank Michael for raising awareness of our efforts. I am the technical development manager for the www.iapf.org UAV program. There are a number of us spread across the world who form the whole team, however for the most part actual UAV development happens here in Melbourne, Australia. That's me in the picture with the X8 Michael has posted along with this post.

    Our team is made up of volunteers from a variety of ex military and other aviation / UAV arenas. The team collectively has experience in the regulatory, procurement, research and development operation and testing of a variety of UAV platforms from around the world.

    As you all know all too well, individual UAV requirements differ as per your objective. Our objective currently is not using APM's, (sorry Chris) although we did start off with them. So whilst Michaels intention is good and well meaning, we are already on a path toward a suitable platform with the required avionics and optics. That path is one as stated by Gary Mortimer that does not come cheap, hence why we are not using APM's anymore. Michael I have to also confess Gary is correct in his statement about poverty and lack of education being at the root of the poaching issue. However you are also correct if there wasn't a demand, there wouldn't be the black market trade in the first instance. So what does this all mean? Well the IAPF has embarked on tackling the issues on both fronts. The team in Australia are busy building capable, bush hardy, CAA compliant sUAS's whilst the main arm of the IAPF continues to work with local communities in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique building networks and communities to help "empower" locals. "empower" is a phrase used a lot in Africa - just research why Namibia has had almost no poaching incidences over the past decade or so and you will start to grasp the complexities of the situation. 

    That all said, there are some fantastic comments here and a wealth of knowledge and experience out there to call upon. At the same time, too many cooks can spoil the broth and take up valuable time answering the dozens of emails that tend to flood us daily so I will ask you kindly If you have serious intentions of helping and not hindering the process then by all means get in touch. If you PM on this forum we can take the conversation further.

    Oliver thank you for your comments and your donation, best thing we could ask for really. Many of you who have left email addresses, please PM me with your relevant experience and areas you feel you could most contribute toward.

  • 100KM
    I have been doing some research and some design work for a large gas powered UAV that can be made localy. It would be open source and designed with the communities input and help. What kind of mussion profile do you think would be appropriate for the work you have in mind?
  • Hello and WOW. Thanks for all the replies, some very good points by all. Thanks for donating Oliver very much appreciated, I hope some others can follow suit whether for the rhino's or any other endangered animals.

    Rodrigo, I will PM you.

    Nathan there are a few things I would like to run by you as a fellow gunnie so I will PM you as well.

    Bertold I'm not sure if they use radios or not but I am getting a sort of tactical report from the guys over there to see what they are up against and will go from there. I spent many years working on Harpoon, Sparrow and Sidewinder and torpedoes, I'm not too concerned about a jammer from ebay or anything else they have for that matter. Jamming a signal is 100 times harder than building a receiver to get around it, I know this from my Harpoon and Sparrow experience. I think I have them covered. Unless they have an ALQ-99 TJS, but I don't think they do. I really, really, really, hope they do use radios, that would be so helpful. I have another friend whose into SDR. These make great RDF especially in an aerial platform.

    Helistorm, the use of a UAV in SAR is probably no different than what's going on here, what we learn from one can be applied to the other and help each other out. Glad your on board to help.

    Naish, the X8 looks fantastic, I think I might get one for myself to have a play with.

    Ravi I will PM you, I have some questions for you.

    Gary I have to respectfully disagree with you on some points. Poverty is not the cause of this, the end user is.The only part of the rhino they want is the horn, the rest of the animal just rots. Rhino horn is used in Chinese medicine because they think it cures cancer and is like viagara, idiots. Studies have shown that only a particular age group above 55 believe this, young Chinese just don't believe in it. The only reason the rhinos are hunted is to supply this market and when all these old Chinese guys die, hopefully the market will disappear. Rhino horn doesn't end up anywhere else but China, no market no more shooting. We have to protect the rhinos until then. The lion and tiger skins are a different story I think. They end up in any country for whatever sick twisted person thinks that to have a big cat skin on their floor to walk on is nice. Stopping this market is way harder than stopping the rhino horn because your next door neighbour may have a skin in his closet and you would never know it but he probably doesn't take rhino horn to satisfy his misses or fix his brain tumour. Maybe what we need here is a common platform, NATO style. There are so many people and organisations involved in using UAV's for this sort of thing I think a working group to design a common platform that everyone can use would reduce costs in R&D and supply. We all want the same thing in the end.

    Bertram, I was thinking GPS structured over Inertial Navigation System (INS), I have done this before on another project. Its not that hard to do these days, god I love microprocessors. And a narrow band microwave burst transmission will get through even a reasonably high powered jammer. We only need a pic every 5-10 seconds.

    Azhar I will PM you.

  • Hi there.. I believe I have enough knowledge and skill to help out. Currently I am not really attaching my self to any company (nor wife) and your cause seems to be interesting enough for me. I could be a full-time pilot or UAV mechanic if you should you need me. Or maybe just a consultancy?

    I can be contacted at: azharpangesti @gmail if you need any consultation

  • Bertold, I was thinking the same thing regarding digital video. I have a couple ideas regarding navigation, but I will need to research a little further.
This reply was deleted.