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South Africa Drones For Anti-Rhino-Poaching Patrol

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-horn-for-you dept.

Crime 96

garymortimer writes "The SA National Defence Force is considering using an unmanned drone helicopter to target rhino poachers, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said yesterday. She told a press conference in Pretoria she wanted state weapons company Denel to further develop an unmanned aerial vehicle it was working on so it could be used to help SA National Parks catch rhino poachers."

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Poachers are a huge threat (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348618)

The damage done by poachers is enormous. They decimate wild herds of BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

catch ? (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348630)

I am against the death penalty, but ...

Re:catch ? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349332)

I am against the death penalty, but ...

I agree that poaching endangered species is a terrible crime, but death penalty seems excessive unless you also want to apply it to the subhumans who jack deer up in Wisconsin.

But I can see how some people would think poaching a rhinoceros is a good thing. I imagine it keeps it nice and moist and seals in the flavor. I wonder if you would use chicken stock or a nice dry white wine?

[I think I've been watching too many cooking shows.]

Re:catch ? (3, Insightful)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350284)

"I agree that poaching endangered species is a terrible crime, but death penalty seems excessive unless you also want to apply it to the subhumans who jack deer up in Wisconsin."

the difference being while deer may be scarce where you are, they are nowhere close to endangered and in some places are right up there with rats as an overpopulated nuisance. You want more deer? Ship them in. You want more rhinos? Ship them...wait a sec...

not standing up for deer jackers, just pointing out that killing 1 of 30 million deer (source wikipedia) is a less serious matter than killing 1 of 4000 rhinos (source world wildlife fund). Do people go to SA for anything besides safari type vacations? Lose a few more species and watch tourism decline to the detriment of the entire country. Still not sure if it should be a capital offense, but it's serious.

Re:catch ? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34353570)

the difference being while deer may be scarce where you are, they are nowhere close to endangered and in some places are right up there with rats as an overpopulated nuisance.

My objection to jacking deer has nothing to do with them being endangered.

If the issue was really "There are so many deer and they're a nuisance so we have to kill them", there are much more efficient way to get rid of an overpopulation of deer than having two guys with a thousand dollars worth of gear get drunk, drive for hours to where the deer are, then shine a spotlight in their face so they can kill one deer, then take it back to their friends in town, pay a fortune to have a taxidermist mount it and act like they're big game hunters.

Nope, that's not an efficient way to cull an overpopulated herd at all.

Do people go to SA for anything besides safari type vacations?

I went to Tanzania and Cameroon once just to hear some music. That was some decades ago. I do remember seeing a lot of tourists who were clearly there to kill something rare and beautiful, however. I drank with a couple of guys from Scotland who were after big game and they were very weird. I still have the picture I took of us with an old 35mm camera with a timed shutter.

Re:catch ? (1)

samoanbiscuit (1273176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356346)

there are much more efficient way to get rid of an overpopulation of deer than having two guys with a thousand dollars worth of gear get drunk, drive for hours to where the deer are, then shine a spotlight in their face so they can kill one deer, then take it back to their friends in town, pay a fortune to have a taxidermist mount it and act like they're big game hunters.

Very true... But few ways that are more profitable for the area than that... We don't have to like it to agree to that.

Re:catch ? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357360)

But few ways that are more profitable for the area than that.

OK, you've got me there. I hadn't thought of the money that deer hunting brings to rural regions.

It's just too bad the way behemoth agribusiness corporations have made it necessary for people in rural areas to pimp out nature in this way, selling tickets to the over-fed, allowing them to drive up and destroy deer as if they were getting burgers at Jack-in-the-Box.

Re:catch ? (1)

shnull (1359843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34371772)

I don't think death penalty is ever a solution until you have an absolute 100% certainty about what causes the actual crime. If you determined that the crime is in fact caused 100% by genetic disposition and not by environment, surroundings and all kinds of social aspects you could say yes, let's cull that part of the genepool but until then, they should be studied in their habitats to find out what is causing it, if you by any chance would find out that it happens to be poverty and overpopulation (and i'm not talking about the rhino's or the deer here) you could still say death penalty would be a good idea, IF you organize a mass extinction event to execute about 3 billion people for crimes against their nest. Sounds harsh? Let's ask the rhino's opinion , o wait ... they're gone

First Trout! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348640)

I am a fish! (not a rhino)

Wrong tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348642)

Someone send in Ace Ventura.

I thought this was a nerds site? (0, Offtopic)

frontloader (96227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348650)

SA is Suadi Arabia
ZA is South Africa

UHG!

Re:I thought this was a nerds site? (1)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349342)

Except it really is the SANDF. We South Africans almost always refer to South Africa as SA.

Re:I thought this was a nerds site? (1)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349450)

I realise that you were probably joking, but SA really is a correct and official abbreviation for South Africa. The same abbreviation is also used by Saudi Arabia, San Antonio and the Salvation Army, among others.

What you're referring to is the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code, which uses ZA instead of the usual SA purely to avoid a naming conflict.

Re:I thought this was a nerds site? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349486)

SA is Suadi Arabia

Where the hell is that???

.ZA is the SA TLD. This discussion is NOT about TLDs.

As the next step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348660)

Anyone whom the government doesn't like will be labelled a rhino poacher.

Arms race? (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348666)

How long until the poachers use drones to hunt the rhino?

Re:Arms race? (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 3 years ago | (#34355416)

Not long. What actually worked was when the local community there had an economic incentive to care for the Rhino and exploit them. They had an incentive to defend their Rhino and make sure they were healthy. When Rhino products were made illegal the local community went on to do other things and the poachers moved in to exploit the resource.

The world population of chickens was 15.85 billion in 2002.

Useful (1)

PARENA (413947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348678)

Good to see something truly useful done with drones. What I do wonder is: won't poachers be able to shoot those things right out of the sky or would they fly too high for that.

I can now imagine poachers with rocket launchers. o_O

Re:Useful (1)

Chatsubo (807023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349916)

I would say if your drone just got shot out of the sky, it is a good indication that you can send a team of rangers.

Re:Useful (1)

PARENA (413947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350146)

Doh, good point. >_

Re:Useful (1)

surd1618 (1878068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356650)

I completely agree. Just reading the post made me feel a little better for a second. Drones feel like an elegant solution to the problem of poachers. Gas-powered ones might even be useful, although I'd rather have some kind of pie-in-the-sky solar-powered poacher slayer. And if they start using them on people, make some drapes out of plate iron.

I'm conflicted... (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348680)

Is this the best or worst idea my government has ever had ?

And I heard.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348686)

I heard that the prototype using rhino horn fibre in the leading edges fly further and does not need de-icing equipment.

Re:And I heard.. (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34452020)

I heard that tests using the hemp fiber had a higher ceiling.

test (0, Offtopic)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348692)

test

Re:test (0, Offtopic)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349346)

fail

Obligatory Big Bang Theory reference (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348694)

I guess those rhino's are of military importance after all...

Why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348708)

sharks with fricking lasers?

Predator (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348716)

This is a good use for armed hunter killer drones.

Arms race? (0, Redundant)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348732)

How long before the poachers use drones to hunt the rhino?

Predators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348748)

Preserve our right to arm rhinos.

maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348756)

perhaps we need some drones in parliament watching our politicians. or poachers. poachers in parliament might be better, actually.

Drastic measures (2, Insightful)

Rexdude (747457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348758)

Stick a tranquilizer gun in it to knock out the poachers from a distance so that they can be picked up. If they try shooting back, use a sniper rifle on them.

Why helicopter instead of fixed-wing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348760)

Why a helicopter, and not a fixed-wing UAV? Wouldn't it be far more efficient and hence be able to travel much further distances and stay in the air for longer periods of time? Seems more suitable for the large environments that rhinos inhabit.

Re:Why helicopter instead of fixed-wing? (1)

phillips321 (955784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349290)

That was the first thing i thought...
....a glider type fixed wing with solar panels on the topside could use thermals and solar for none stop "droning"

Bang and the poachers are gone! (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348766)

Unfortunately there is no mention, beyond painting the poacher red, of what weapons the UAV will have.

Okay then (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348810)

In South Africa the birds hunt YOU!

Next time poachers will be caught... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348824)

using these drones to hunt rhinos.

Painted red. (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348832)

I suggest they use lead paintballs.

Boers, with muskets ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348838)

I watched a documentary about the Boers in South Africa. The film said that most folks had three muskets on their horse, and could reload them in the saddle. There is no need for those UAVs ... a Boer on a horse can handle your poacher problems.

Re:Boers, with muskets ... (5, Interesting)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349340)

I'm a descendant of those boers. Trust me - it's not like that anymore.
Very much like the average person living in Lincoln County today cannot draw, fire and actually hit a target in under 4 seconds anymore. It was a survival skill for my ancestors a hundred years ago, that skill was why roughly 500 men could defeat a conservatively estimated 10000 men at the battle of blood river (granted there were several other force multipliers that they used - their enemies had short-range spears [Assegai is really a sort of intermediary design between a spear and a sword] rather than guns, they had an excellent location that prevented all the enemy forces from striking at once, the weather was hugely in their favor), some 70 years after that their grandchildren gave Britain hell in a war for 3 years that was ultimately only won by ultimately killing 27 thousand women and children.
After the war though, the vast majority of their children moved to cities and towns, the great shooting skill of my ancestors died out within two generations.
My great-grandfather could hit a thumbprint at 500m through open-sights in real-world conditions (so could just about everybody he knew of course), my grandfather could just about hit a beer can at that range, my dad will probably hit somewhere in target (but he is an ex-cop).
Most of the generation of us today have fathers who still go hunting now and then - but the vast majority of us have never actually fired a gun. I don't own one, and feel no need to - and I am actually a good shot. My sister and I both won colors doing sport-shooting in school. She was the rifle expert, I preferred pistols.
Neither of us have ever shot a weapon at any living thing however, neither of us have fired a gun in at least 10 years, we've never done so without supervision. As adults, once we no longer did the sport - our interest waned. And most of our schoolmates didn't do the same sport, many of them own pistols but most of them have never even touched a rifle.

We're still a gun-crazy country (almost as bad as America really) - in part because of that history and the fact that our parents were still draughted in the bush-war - but the fact is, the old Boers who could live off the land for weeks at a time, never-ever missed a shot (because bullets were expensive and scarce), and could hit a moving the size of a rabit from a horse in gallop just don't exist anymore. Our field-rangers in the parks are probably the closest to that which still survives - and it's clearly not enough or we wouldn't be looking at this sort of technology. Those of us who still farm are the last ones you should look at, they are by-and-large the most obese population group in the country.

Sadly, your documentary sounds fairly accurate - but it's about as applicable to modern-day industrialized Afrikaans culture as a documentary on Billie the Kid is to the typical modern American.

Re:Boers, with muskets ... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350286)

never-ever missed a shot (because bullets were expensive and scarce),

Those two statements are contradictory. Being a good shot requires lots of practice. If bullets are scarce and expensive, you won't get lots of practice. Ergo, one of the two statements are false.

There's plenty of exaggeration in the rest of your comment, too, but the general narrative seems accurate enough.

Re:Boers, with muskets ... (2, Informative)

anethema (99553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34355212)

Ya stuff like a thumb print at 500 meters is just insane and impossible.

A modern standard military sniper rifle is around 1 minute of angle(MOA) accuracy. So roughly, at 500 yards (close enough to meters), groups will be shot within a 5 inch circle. The chance of you hitting a thumb print is fairly small.

Even the best guns from a machine rest shoot 0.25ish MOA, so this is a 1.25 inch circle area at 500 yards. Keeping in mind this is a scoped modern rifle, with a modern bullet, in a clamp on a bench.

The ballistics and metallurgy of the time obviously would not even allow for a fraction of this accuracy, never mind actually holding the gun while taking a shot. And the above post mentioned Muskets, which obviously would be hard pressed to hit something the size of a human at 500 yards, nevermind a thumb print.

Re:Boers, with muskets ... (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356390)

>Ya stuff like a thumb print at 500 meters is just insane and impossible.
That was a direct quote from my great-grandfather, it was probably exaggerated but close enough for government work. He did on multiple occasions sit on his front porch and shoot Kudu running up a nearby hill which was further than that away though, I know because my family still owned that farm until not long ago (we donated it to the Thabazimbi nature reserve in my generation - there was never an official will so it got subdivided among descendants to the point where now we each owned about 5 square meters of a piece of land the size of a small town - it made more sense to donate it than to try and combine ownership again, and we thought great granddad would have been happy to see his land become a nature reserve) but I've sat on that porch and seen the distance to the Thabazimbi mountain. That is not a shot I would have attempted with a modern rifle - but for him it had been survival. Need breeds skill.

>A modern standard military sniper rifle is around 1 minute of angle(MOA) accuracy. So roughly, at 500 yards (close enough to meters), groups will be shot within a 5 inch circle. The chance of you hitting a thumb print is fairly small.
Like I said, it was probably somewhat exagerated - and of course he had said 500-steps, which is around 500m but could have been in practice closer to 300m or so. Still no mean feat but we didn't learn to shoot with constant drive for survival excellence from literally as soon as we were strong enough to hold a gun.

>The ballistics and metallurgy of the time obviously would not even allow for a fraction of this accuracy, never mind actually holding the gun while taking a shot. And the above post mentioned Muskets, which obviously would be hard pressed to hit something the size of a human at 500 yards, nevermind a thumb print.

Yes, the original post was wrong. The last war the boers used muskets in was blood river. And I was not exaggerating that one - on the contrary, the folk tale version was significantly bigger. The numbers I gave are the conservative numbers of modern historians. By the time of the English war their weapon of choice was this one: http://www.mauserwaffen.de/index.php?id=195&L=1 [mauserwaffen.de]
The Mauser '98 model single-shot rifle. The British favored the Lee-Enfield. The L-E was one of the first guns with a magazine, this meant they could shoot faster and many times between reloads. The boers could only possibly compete with that if they could (as they did) make every shot count. They literally worked on the assumption that every bullet fired should equal a fallen enemy. Now in practice this was probably not an ideal they reached every time -but while the British went for assaults the boers preferred ... well to be campers. They'd find camouflaged hidey-holes, take their time and hit headshots very nearly every time they pulled a trigger while using their cannons to prevent from being charged.

That was a tactic that worked because they new the veld so well, they basically lived in it their entire lives. Of course during the war many of the Boers acquired Lee-Enfields from fallen enemies, using the same tactic without reload times made them a massive force to be reckoned with. It also didn't help the English that they had no skill at all for concealment - hitting a human-sized target even at a few hundred meters with a German-engineering weapon (it's magazined descendant the '89 model was the primary weapon of German soldiers in World War 1) from a good sniper spot when the target is extremely easy to see and you're used to shooting at animals which are very good at hiding themselves is really not so far-fetched.

Nonetheless, the irony is that the point I was making is that my ancestors were very skilled at living in the veld, one of those skills was marksmanship - instilled from a very young age, but that skill doesn't exist today. The world changed, and we changed with it. I was a champion shot in high-school and I know I could not come close to what my granddad could have done (not that he lived to see the invention of pistols mind you and I was never very fond of rifles) but neither could my sister and she was a rifle specialist. On a pistol range with limited weather influence I can hit a bulls-eye at 25m about 2 shots out of 5 and put the other 3 in a respectable grouping near it. That is considered very good today - a hundred years ago it would have meant I'd not have lived to breed. My sister with her 22-calibre sport-rifle got similar scores at 50m (it's really quite impractical to go over 50m with a 22-cal).
My own granddad owned a 22-cal which he used for his day-to-day hunting survival as a child (I wrote about that in my last post), my dad still owns that rifle and it's still fully functional though the barrel is shot out so far now as to make it useless for hunting. That rifle will be my inheritance when my dad passes on. This bit of old boer-culture survives, we inherit as heirlooms the rifles our ancestors survived with.

Re:Boers, with muskets ... (1)

anethema (99553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34456910)

The thing is the main thrust of your argument is that they HAD to be that accurate. The problem is the numbers just don't agree.

A 71/84 with modern reworks has just (BARELY) been able to hit 1MOA accuracy. In the old days it was likely near ~2 MOA.

This gives you a ten inch circle at 500 yards. A 6 inch circle at 300 yards.

Even assuming 1 MOA, it makes it unlikely to hit a fingerprint at 500 yards. Even at 300 yards. Possible certainly, but not in any repeatable or reliable way. And this is in a machine rest!

Good marksmanship will come in when say, something within that MOA circle is running, bouncing, etc.

Keep in mind I'm not saying they were bad marksman, etc, but the level of accuracy you're claiming is simply not possible.

Making ever shot count IS possible. A man sized target being shot at from ~500 yards from a Mauser of the time would certainly be an attainable goal.

As you mention the K98 was the German's main rifle during large parts of the war, and again, it in perfect condition is capable of around 1MOA from machine rest. Average from human hands was of course higher.

Anyways, the boers were an interesting group and no doubt great marksmen, but you can't overcome physics.

Re:Boers, with muskets ... (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356348)

>Those two statements are contradictory. Being a good shot requires lots of practice. If bullets are scarce and expensive, you won't get lots of practice. Ergo, one of the two statements are false.

Only if you're an idiot. They made their own bullets - and it was cheap and easy to practice at home, which they did - all the time.
Out in the field however, bullets were scarce and hard to come by - making a fire is one thing, making bullets out in the veld is a completely different thing. Bullets were scarce and expensive when hunting (hunting trips typically took 3 months or more) or during the war, not when you were a child growing up. It was tradition among my people to receive your first rifle as a birthday present at the age of 7.

My own grandfather was taken out of school aged 13, from then on his job was caring for the cattle. This means that on Sunday night great gran packed his saddlebag with some rusks and coffee beans and 6 bullets. He set out before sunrise monday morning to the grazing grounds (about a day's ride away), by sunset he shot a duiker for dinner. He would make a fire, cook and eat the two shoulderblade and leave the rest of the jackals (in a South African summer without refrigeration it would be inedible by the next morning). This he repeated each night - if he missed a shot, he had no dinner (the rusks were breakfast). For 6 days, on Saturday he went home for church on Sunday. This is how he spent the next 5 years - it only changed when he was 18 years old when and his older brother both got pneumonia.
At the time the traditional cure was feeding people who got it fresh goat dung. His uncle argued that this was folk-myth and suggested simply heat and rest, great granddad listened and kept listening right until his brother died (I was named after that brother). At this stage great granddad said "I've lost one of my sons, I'm going to feed the other one the goat dung - maybe we'll get lucky".
My granddad survived. It would take about 3 more decades before science figured out why it worked. Goat-dung is filled with the same fungus that we find on mouldy bread. Although they had no idea why it worked -it did work, because it was basically a primitive way to administer penicillin.

But that was their life. Doctors were few and far between, you saw your neighbours once every 3 months when everybody went to town (usually a 3 day trip) for communion. They had to be self-sufficient and self-reliant because that's what life required -and part of that was being an excellent shot.

Re:Boers, with muskets ... (1)

riT-k0MA (1653217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34363114)

Those of us who still farm are the last ones you should look at, they are by-and-large the most obese population group in the country.

Hey, boet: you're forgetting about our fat-cat politicians...

Painted red (2, Funny)

conureman (748753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348874)

Pb Paintballs FTW!

I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348898)

Why do people still try to hunt rhinos for 'medicinal' purposes, now that Viagra and Cialis exist? Are these people just congenitally stupid, or what?

Re:I don't understand (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350068)

There's a big international market for bullshit medicine, and don't forget the black market for rhino horns as conversation pieces for the ultra-rich.

about time (1)

garatheus (993376) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348912)

Its rather upsetting listening to the local news radio stations on how they're often catching the poachers... far too late. Every week there's a new story about them. *sigh*.

Arms race? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348926)

Would be interesting to see poachers arming themselves with AA defenses. Maybe those old South Park episodes, depicting hunting with a bazooka or Apache, were somewhat prophetic.

Awesome. (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348958)

This is a great application for UAV technology, one that doesn't involve spying on or killing innocent people.

Re:Awesome. (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350312)

Now if only we could come up with a good application of commenting technology. You know, one that doesn't involve being a complete asshat.

What about Blimps? (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348990)

They could hover over the Rhinos and protect them with AI assisted tracking cameras and laser guided missiles. It's a beautiful future.

Re:What about Blimps? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350080)

Except unless the blimps are many thousands of feet up (too high to track the poachers) they're also easy targets, especially if the poachers get something as simple as a quadcopter with a mini-bayonet taped to it (once it pierces the gas bag, the blimp will eventually fall out of the sky).

non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349034)

The summary is the article, they're considering development of a program. The only other tid-bit is "They say it is so good it is able to detect the colour of the shirt of the poacher." Somewhat underwhelming.

better use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349036)

Hopefully they can be put to better use in this role, at least there should be less false postives with wedding parties getting mixed up for poachers/talebans.

Execute poachers (2, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349058)

When a species is this near the edge something drastic needs to be done. If they were hunting the rhino for food I'd have some sympathy , but just to make money selling the horn to halfwit chinese for their idiotic herbal "remedies" or aphrodisiacs is inexcusable. And don't anyone respond with some western moral imperialism argument - we're beyond that niave political nonsense now. If poaching isn't stopped the rhino will soon be gone.

Re:Execute poachers (2, Funny)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350782)

When a species is this near the edge something drastic needs to be done. If they were hunting the rhino for food I'd have some sympathy

Well they are poaching them. My question is what are they using for the cooking liquid...

Re:Execute poachers (1)

ddxexex (1664191) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351062)

Poaching is already a big black market and chances are they might kill a few people who come in their way. They probably violate so many other laws that it isn't necessary to do this in the first place. This is true everywhere, I've heard that in the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans give some of their inspectors guns for investigating possible fishing violations. Sadly, it looks like all the drones would seem to do is make the poachers charge more for rhino horns or whatever to offset the cost of them using a bullet to shoot down the Drone and/or the ranger who comes to the location of the fallen drone.

Re:Execute poachers (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356324)

While I agree, using rhino horn for "idiotic herbal remedies" is completely inexcusable, it's not actually used as an aphrodisiac, but as a remedy for fever. I can't remember my reference for that, apologies, but it's a common misconception.

This sounds like state help in disguise (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349084)

What's wrong with hiring flesh and blood people to combat poaching? With over 25% unemployment, you'd think the government could hire people to take them off the unemployed statistics, and for a lot cheaper than the cost of a UAV + salary of its remote pilot.

It sounds awfully like a scheme to help a national company who can't sell enough stuff on the private market to stay afloat. Kind of like the french Rafale airplane, produced by Dassault, whose only customer is the french military.

Re:This sounds like state help in disguise (1)

Huntr (951770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349866)

The parks are *HUGE*. Kruger NP alone is about 19k sq km. The issue isn't getting a few more boots on the ground, it's hiring a lot more people, putting them in dangerous situations, and feeding and caring for them vs using 1 drone that can be operated remotely and which can cover much more area more efficiently. This is a very good idea to combat a desperate problem. The face that it helps an SA national company grow is a plus.

Re:This sounds like state help in disguise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350952)

Indeed.

Furthermore, with all of the airborne poachers in the news lately, it's not as if foot patrols will be able to cover ground fast enough.

Re:This sounds like state help in disguise (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350336)

With over 25% unemployment, you'd think the government could hire people to take them off the unemployed statistics, and for a lot cheaper than the cost of a UAV + salary of its remote pilot.

Yeah, right. Do you have any idea how many people you'd need in order to cover the same area as just one UAV?

Hey, here's another way they can save money: instead of buying supercomputers for research projects, just hire a bunch of guys with abacuses.

That's ok (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349088)

Bad guys (tm) can use drones too. Let the drone wars begin.

Target? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349110)

To target Rhino poachers? Are we talking Hellfire armed Reapers here?

That's one way to deal with the problem I suppose.

Let me tell you how it is done. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349118)

preventing poaching i mean.

there was a documentary in discovery or another channel. about a guy who stopped poaching after being put in charge of anti poaching prevention. the african country in this case was having a lot of troubles preventing poaching. poachers were running amok in the face of the rangers, and they were armed with ak47s and other guns. (poachers - actually many tribes in africa are armed with firearms, ak47 most popular)

the guy was an ex military commander in some other country, (west), now working as a mercenary. quite an odd character, not taking jobs which he didnt like.

when he came in charge, he trained the rangers as, well, army rangers, and instructed them to shoot and kill poachers. rangers started killing poachers wherever they were poaching.

poaching stopped.

Poaching (1)

HappyClown (668699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349130)

Eggs I can understand but how the hell do you poach a rhino anyway? I'm guessing you probably need to peel them first?

Seems like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349138)

the comment system is bugged. Or then nobody cares about South African rhinos.

A country had stopped it flat (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349194)

i saw it in a discovery or other channel documentary. poachers were running amok in the face of park rangers in an african country. naturally, they were armed. they were poaching elephants. (most tribes are armed in africa, ak47 is preferred)

the country hired an ex army man (from west) as the head of the rangers. the guy trained park rangers as army rangers, and had them start to kill poachers. rangers were very effective now, laying in wait in treetops, coming with helicopters and whatnot.

poaching stopped flat out.

Re:Any body know the sizeof game parks in ZA. (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349352)

Look in Google Earth for Kruger Park. It's the size of a small country and also acts as one of ZA's borders.. The rangers are armed and do shoot to kill but are a bit thin on the ground as the parks are self financing. Poachers are highly organized bunch and also heavily armed. Bit of an uphill battle. Drones are a good idea but knowing our bunch the tender process will kill any chance of it happening. Nod, nod, wink,wink.

Re:Any body know the sizeof game parks in ZA. (1)

kaur (1948056) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349562)

The rangers are armed and do shoot to kill but are a bit thin on the ground as the parks are self financing. Poachers are highly organized bunch and also heavily armed. Bit of an uphill battle.

Thus, the poachers will soon have air superiority as well. And they will get their drones faster than the government or park management - as they do not need to follow any "tender process".

Anyone inventing or deploying a new weapon will get an advantage... but a temporary one. After that, the one with more money or a better incentive to use it will win.

Re:Any body know the sizeof game parks in ZA. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350310)

If they can legally shoot to kill, then arm a heli UAV with some machine guns and turn the poachers into mincemeat >:) Hell I've got plenty of experience in heli combat sims and RC piloting experience, I'll apply for the job!

Re:A country had stopped it flat (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349458)

Thats twice you posted this without any details.. I find it hard to beleive poachign was stopped 'flat out'... Tho I do agree... shoot to kill this twisted poachers...

I say we mount remote control weaponry to the rhino's themselves... When Rhinos start shooting back, that sends a message.

Re:A country had stopped it flat (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349716)

the first comment did not appear for a long time. i still havent seen it yet.

Re:A country had stopped it flat (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351266)

Or alternatively, put international pressure on China to use it's oppression of citizens to prevent the purchase of Rhino horns from poachers in the first place.

If China is going to oppress it's citizens, it could at least do it for a good cause!

We need planes not helicopters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349214)

We need planes not helicopters. There is just too much land to cover.

Won't someone think... (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349216)

...of the Rhinos?

Re:Won't someone think... (1)

uncanny (954868) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349682)

well, i would say "no rhino left behind" but i think that's the poachers motto!

How... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349220)

How can they possibly tell the niggers apart from the other animals?

HUGRY !! HUNGRY !! RHINO !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349236)

Ever wonder why you have your rhino and your hippo,and your gator and your croc? Wonder no more !! It's GOD's WORK !! And he did it all in six days, and with a little help from Noah and his ark !!

save the rhinos! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349246)

from ourselves

Same trend obvserved so many times... (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349270)

Once again, weapons technology is used in civil applications to make the world a little better. We've seen that countless times in history already.

Pity that weapons and "defensive" technology so often are used to kill people and to reduce freedom...

Jews did WTC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349276)

Also FP.

GNAA owns Slashdot. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349282)

It's the truth.

Nuke poachers from orbit (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349492)

... it's the only way to be sure.

Turning Rhino into mutant radioactif behemothes should also help the specie survive poaching.

The "Food" Chain (1)

anguirus.x (1463871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349656)

Human poachers poach Rhinos ==> Robot drones poach poachers. There's kind of a poetic justice quality in that, and heightened by the cold threat of robotic killing machines.

At last! (2, Interesting)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349940)

Finally, a decent use for drones. Instead of killing people, they save rhinos.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350112)

In before "they will use the drones to hunt rhinos." For a bunch of CS majors, you sure don't think logistics through. The nigger jokes are more cerebral.

Rhinos, Now With Air Support. (1)

aoeu (532208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350444)

Think about it. Give each Rhino, or other really rare large mammal, its own small drone that follows it at all times. A more sophisticated form of radio tracking collar.

Re:Rhinos, Now With Air Support. (1)

surd1618 (1878068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34356708)

Its presence might just drive some animals crazy.

Also, battery packs need swapping. Each rhino would have a string of drone hives across its range.

It would be better if the drones follow a mow-the-lawn shape, beginning and ending at charge stations. Then it will become a race between hunters hiding in further reaches or creating camouflage, and drones that get better at seeing, hearing, smelling, and scanning for humans, and sweeping out ever more unpredictable paths.

Rhino Ranch (1)

numbscholar (1939936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350850)

Why not have rhino farms in which the rhinos are raised, taken care of and then butchered for there parts which are marketable. Then the rhinos won't die off because the ranchers would have incentive to keep their herd alive. The demand for ivory will likely never go away, even after the rhinos do.

Bill Hicks, another dead hero (1)

sp0tter (1456139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34352990)

"You know. See, everyone got boners over the technology, and it was pretty incredible. Watching missiles fly down air vents, pretty unbelievable. But couldn't we feasibly use that same technology to shoot food at hungry people? Know what I mean? Fly over Ethiopia, "There's a guy that needs a banana!" SHOOP. The Stealth Banana. Smart fruit! I don't know."
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