The illegal wildlife trade is the fifth largest illicit trade in the world and is worth a staggering £12bn a year, according to the WWF. Animals such as rhinos are on the brink of extinction, whilst elephants will be soon if more isn’t done to prevent poaching. UAVs are able to cover vast areas of land which rangers simply cannot reach by land. UAVs can provide the ‘eye in the sky’ for rangers which allows them to identify and track targets, whilst using less resources and at low costs. In addition, UAVs can be used to assess wildlife and changing conditions.
UAVs can similarly be used to track marine wildlife, which would ordinarily not be possible. They have been used to monitor large areas of the Mediterranean Sea where fishing boats are indiscriminately marine wildlife, and have also been used to track the migration patterns of turtles off the coast of Australia. Other applications include river and estuary surveys, counter poaching and fishing law enforcement.