Introduction of drones transforms anti-poaching efforts

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Masvingo (New Ziana) -THE introduction of drones has vastly enhanced efforts of combating poaching in national parks and conservancies around the country.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) recently showcased some its drones at its stand at the Masvingo Agricultural Show, which attracted hordes of people of all ages keen to see some of the live animals on display that included crocodiles and pythons, as well as stuffed ones like the lion, leopard, cheetah and rhinoceros.

In an interview with New Ziana, one of the rangers who spoke on condition of anonymity due to professional reasons said the introduction of drones, starting at the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland North province in 2016 saw the parks authority moving with the world in terms of technology.

“We used to have sticks (patrols comprising three rangers) to do a minimum of 10 square kilometres per day and it would take the whole day but with the drone we can take all the information needed within 30 minutes,” he said.

“It can cover up to 80 km per hour while on foot I do about 5 km.”

The ranger said after deploying the gadget, he monitors it from the launch point and is able to take pictures and videos for closer observation of any suspicious objects or movement.

Also the drone can provide a geographic information system (GIS) which directs the rangers on the ground to the exact point where attention is needed without wasting much time.

“When working one needs to enjoy, and working with the drones brings ease of doing work, its motivating, helps to improve our speed of operation, data collection and research,” said the ranger.

He said when monitoring water bodies, unlike in the past when fish poachers were alerted by the din of the approaching vehicles, the drones had brought in the element of surprise making the anti poaching exercises more effective.

New Ziana

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