Rhinos are in luck - they've got an advocate in the sky. By outfitting drones with high-resolution video technology, as a team of three college students at Cranfield University in Britain recently proposed, anti-poaching rangers could more cheaply and efficiently track rhino hunters from the sky.
New technologies to help rare species like the rhino couldn't come soon enough. In 2013, more than 1,000 rhinos were killed, and 2014 was the worst year for rhino poaching in South Africa. These cameras, meant to peer into space, may soon be keeping a watchful eye on a frontier a little closer to home.
Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles are currently outfitted with traditional cameras, but the new telescopic cameras will capture higher resolution images over a wider range. "Our proposal intends to develop lightweight and autonomous UAVs for observing in two main sectors: wildlife conservation, and search and rescue," said Idriss Sisaid in a statement. Sisaid, along with Edward Anastassacos and Enrique Garcia Bourne, recent won the European Space Agency's university competition and patented their idea. It remains to be seen when these devices could be implemented, or how much cheaper this technology is, though the ESA stated it would be more cost-effective.