Technology giant Google has granted the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) a grant that will see the development of drones to monitor wildlife in several parts of Africa.
Through its Global Impact Awards, Google has set aside the funds to help stop the rampant poaching of animals.
This incentive will see the low cost drones, which are controlled by tablets, patrol the areas where endangered species such as rhinos and elephants roam, instead of the high cost helicopters currently in use in many African countries.
Animal poaching costs between $7 billion and $10 billion annually and has devastating effects on the ecosystem.
According to WWF, the grant from Google will be used “to adapt and implement the use of integrated specialized sensors, wildlife tagging technology and remote aerial survey systems. This will be coupled with cost-effective ranger patrolling guided by analytical software, to increase the detection and deterrence of poaching.”
“With this grant, we can create an umbrella of technology to protect wildlife from global crime syndicates,” said Carter Roberts, president and chief executive of WWF.
“It’s all about new surveillance tools and patrol systems to stem what has become an explosion in poaching. Otherwise, we could see the end of species like rhinos and elephants in the wild.”
The Global Impact Award by Google aims to support technological innovations that solve society’s toughest problems.
“We face an unprecedented poaching crisis. Killings are way up. We need solutions that are as sophisticated as the threats we face. This pushes the envelope in the fight against wildlife crime,” Roberts added.