How UAS Teach Can Help Prevent Extinction

Shannon O'Connell Blog

Our planet’s species are on the fastest decline since the age of dinosaurs, and it’s largely due to humans civilization’s devastating impact on the environment. This year’s Earth Day theme is “Protect Our Species” and encourages us all to help protect threatened and endangered species.

Here are some eye-opening statistics that highlight just how critical it is that we take action:

  • Habitat destruction, exploitation, and climate change are driving the loss of half of the world’s wild animal population.
  • Close to 60% of the world’s 504 primate species are threatened with extinction, while 75% of these species’ population is rapidly declining.
  • About 40% of the world’s bird species are in decline with 1 out of every 8 of bird species on the endangered species list.
  • A recent study projects that if the current decline in lizard populations continues, 40% of all lizard species will be extinct by 2080.
  • Millions of American Bison once roamed from Alaska to Mexico, but they now occupy less than 1% of their original habitat.

While those stats are sobering, conservationists around the world are actively fighting to protect our planet and the species that inhabit it — and many are turning to unmanned aerial systems (UAS), like the Edge, to improve the efficiency of their missions.  

 

One way UAS can help conservation efforts is to track and stop trespassers and poachers on protected lands. Currently, two major Rhino species are critically endangered due to illegal poaching in South Africa. With the use of UAS technology, agencies are able to locate poachers in real time and stop them before it’s too late. UAS equipped with advanced thermal and night vision payloads also provide a better view of landscapes at night, as much illegal poaching activity takes place under the cover of darkness.

 

UAS also help detect coastal activity, from catching illegal fishers to charting coral reef erosion.  The crafts’ aerial perspective enables conservationists and patrollers alike to monitor and capture a significantly larger area of coast for significantly less cost compared to more traditional surveillance methods.