• All Share : 49911.37
    DOWN -1.28%
    Top 40 : 3596.50
    DOWN -3.94%
    Financial 15 : 15630.81
    DOWN -0.27%
    Industrial 25 : 61705.86
    DOWN -0.46%

  • ZAR/USD : 11.0762
    UP 0.94%
    ZAR/GBP : 17.3240
    UP 0.54%
    ZAR/EUR : 13.7818
    UP 0.82%
    ZAR/JPY : 0.0933
    UP 0.25%
    ZAR/AUD : 9.4178
    UP 0.67%

  • Gold : 1167.1000
    DOWN -1.86%
    Platinum : 1202.0000
    DOWN -0.83%
    Silver : 15.4600
    DOWN -4.74%
    Palladium : 809.5000
    UP 1.06%
    Brent Crude Oil : 70.150
    UNCHANGED0.00%

  • All data is delayed by 15 min. Data supplied by I-Net Bridge
    Hover cursor over this ticker to pause.

Sat Nov 29 02:02:35 SAST 2014

Chopper drones taking aim at rhino poachers

DAVID MACGREGOR | 21 May, 2013 00:56
A Rhino walks through grassland. File photo
Image by: Daniel Born

A Port Alfred family has splashed out millions on hi-tech helicopter drones to try to save the African rhino from poachers.

What started out as a fun idea by businessman Anton Kieser to attach a digital camera to his remote-controlled helicopter has turned into a R3-million investment with brother Leon and father Kees.

The equipment, which includes imported drones and thermal imaging cameras, will be tested at local game reserves.

Although other anti-poaching initiatives in South Africa are also using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drones to try and save the rhino from extinction, they are using less manoeuvrable planes, not helicopters.

"We bought all this hi-tech equipment to try and combat rhino poaching before they are all gone," Anton explained.

"It is a big investment, but is also well worth it - we want to use drone technology to position ourselves at the forefront of the fight against rhino poaching."

Kieser said his family was particularly moved by the ruthless poaching of three rhino at nearby Kariega Game Reserve a year ago.

One rhino, Thandi, survived despite having her horn hacked off.

He said fitting rhino with satellite tracking devices would make it easier to work out where they were in a game park - and protect them from poachers.

For the past two weeks, US-based drone expert David Dilling has been on the Sunshine Coast teaching the Kiesers how to operate the sophisticated equipment during day and night flights.

The deal to purchase the drones had to be approved by the US defence department - who also did background checks - to prevent them being used for terrorist activities.

The drones are similar to those used by US border patrols and police departments.

SHARE YOUR OPINION

If you have an opinion you would like to share on this article, please send us an e-mail to the Times LIVE iLIVE team. In the mean time, click here to view the Times LIVE iLIVE section.