Poachers are assholes, killing rare animals and putting beautiful creatures on the path to extinction. These killers perform their illegal acts often at night, outside of plain sight, hiding in the shadows away from patrolling jeeps. So, how do you stop them? Call up Skynet!
A startup tech firm called Airware, who earned a little money from crowdfunding, teamed up with a conservation area in Kenya to test a few of their in-development drones. These things can work automated, without a pilot, and can survey during day or night cheaper than normal aircraft and jeep patrols. Thanks to infrared cameras and low-altitude flying, they can spot any creature or heat source (like a camp fire) easily.
Unfortunately, while the test was successful, no one’s picking up these things full-time but don’t be surprised to see them used normally a few years down the road. In a year or two our mail will be delivered by drones (See: Amazon Prime Drones). And a few years after that, expect to see weaponized versions used by them, just like the military, and just like the police and security firms will eventually have. THEN, you’ll see poacher drones fighting security drones over endangered animals. MANY year after that, we’ll have drones fighting drones to protect ancient drones.