The World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Zambia has announced that it is launching a pilot project focusing on the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones for environmental monitoring in ZamThe project is aimed at enabling the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) attain aerial superiority for increased efficiency in detecting and responding to poaching and other threats in the country’s protected areas.
WWF Zambia Head of Communications and Marketing Eneya Phiri said in a statement that the project was conceived following Government’s produced guidelines on the use of UAVs in June 2016.
“The publication of these guidelines provided an opportunity for the Zambian Conservation sector to take advantage of recent advances in drone technology as cost effective and more efficient tools for surveillance, poaching threat detection and wildlife research applications.” Mr. Phiri said.
“At WWF, we view this landmark development as a great opportunity to equip DNPW and its partners with cutting edge technology that will revolutionize surveillance, research and wildlife monitoring for conservation which has been a severely underfunded sector in Zambia. This technology will go a long way in complementing the efforts of the hard-working men and women who strive every day, risking their lives to protect our country’s iconic wildlife species. It is the way conservation for sustainable development is being conducted in the 21st century and we are proud to be pioneering these efforts in Zambia.” Mr. Phiri said.
The pilot project will target DNPW and six of its partners working in five flagship national parks across the country.
The drones will be used for surveillance of poaching threats, wildlife surveys and monitoring as well as mitigation of human wildlife conflicts.
At the end of the project, the officers involved will be trained and certified to fly UAVs for a wide range of conservation operations such as anti-poaching, wildlife aerial surveys, habitat monitoring and human wildlife conflict mitigation.
The implementation of the project will involve DNPW, the Zambia Civil Aviation Authority (ZCAA), the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) among other strategic partners.
Training for drones’ usage will start on 14th of February 2018.
If successful, this project will lead to full-scale, game-changing innovative surveillance for protecting Zambia’s iconic species.