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Julian Rademeyer Comments on the Use of Drones to Combat Poaching

Killing for ProfitJulian Rademeyer, author of Killing for Profit, explained in an interview with Eric Larson that part of the poaching problem is that there is not much known about the market trading in rhino horns. In an article for Mashable, Larson wrote about Kenyan conservancy Ol Pejeta, which has purchased a drone to monitor its 90 000 acres of land.

Rademeyer said that he thinks that drones will be useful as a tool for gathering intelligence, commenting that, “Drones can help you know where to look, but when it comes down to it, manpower on the ground is still the key to stopping this.” Robert Breare from Ol Pejeta agrees, saying that this is just one part of their strategy to tackle poaching.

They break in after sunset — teenagers, usually — armed with AK-47s, chainsaws and night-vision goggles. Moving quickly is essential. Rhinos are frightening creatures, after all — especially when they’re charging towards you, horns lowered, legs pumping, in the darkness of the jungle.

Poaching has always been a dangerous operation, and yet despite the odds, it’s increased twofold in the past 18 months. In Africa, it has singlehandedly pushed several species to the brink of extinction. National Geographic reports that rhinos in particular have been slain at a rate of one every 11 hours, since 2013. That’s on top of the more than 1,700 killed off worldwide since 2011.

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