Drone technology used in Africa to fight rhino poaching

Creating an anti-poaching solution using drones and monitoring technology to help protect rhinos and other animals in national parks that are part of rampant poaching in the illegal wildlife trade.

The International Anti-Poaching Foundation is wanting to deploy drones and is looking for donations.  From their website they answer the question, “Why do the IAPF want drones?”
“There is no doubt that the IAPF is achieving results in Africa without drones, but poachers operate in remote, inaccessible areas, by day and night. They may operate as single individuals or as organised gangs up to a dozen or more with sophisticated weapons and support facilities. Rangers are currently unable to consistently locate and effectively disrupt poaching operations due to terrain, large area of operation and lack of ground assets. A drone capability will allow surveillance of much larger areas, provide a night-vision facility and support direction of ground rangers to the poachers using the data sent by the drone. It will also help in location and tracking of the at-risk animals themselves as well as providing mapping and other aerial survey services.”

Air Shepherd

Watch the above video where Inside Edition reported in early 2015 about the Air Shepherd drone technology used to fight Africa poaching of endangered rhinoceros and elephants.  According to their website the Air Shepherd system is composed of four components:

  • Drone Aircraft – drone agnostic in selecting the best aircraft for the job … currently (Feb 2016) is custom designed UAV’s that include fixed wing and multi-rotor airframes.
  • Airborne Sensors – Solid-state inertial system that maintains flying attitude. Internal GPS receiver.  At least two zooming camera systems on gyro-stabilized gimbals. One camera for visible light (daytime) and the other an infrared sensing device (for darkness). On-board datalink communications with links encrypted for security.
  • Aerial Command Center – Support vehicle with mobile command center systems.
  • Highly Trained Operators


On Feb 15, 2016  Peace Parks Foundation, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, and Air Shepherd joined to together to announce a project to support the fight against rhino poaching.

Peace Parks Foundation, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Air Shepherd today launched an innovative UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) project to support rhino counter-poaching operations.

Posted by Peace Parks Foundation on Monday, February 15, 2016



Ranger Drone Project

The Ranger Drone was created to support park rangers to detect poachers by the implementation of a technologically advanced UAV system.  The project also has an academic purpose. Students from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya collaborate in the design and development of this new tool. HEMAV Academics, participate in the non-profit Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge from South Africa.



Airware demonstrated a UAV system to protect Africa’s rhinos.

About Airware: The company specializes in the development of autopilots for unmanned aircraft systems. Created as the development platform for extending the innovative capabilities of unmanned aircraft to entrepreneurs, educators, and enthusiasts, the os-Series autopilots allow users to create unique unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for specific applications while maintaining their own intellectual property.