ShadowView have been in the Greater Kruger National Park area of South Africa for the last few weeks, using UAV for wildlife monitoring, conservation and anti poaching operations. Our initial location for flight operations was near the Kruger research centre at Phalaborwa gate. ShadowView flew multiple UAS (unmanned aerial systems) from the small staff football field, which despite being strewn with small rocks, was flat and open enough for multiple take off and landings. The deployments were all successful.
The next day, after an interesting visit from a Boomslang snake to our accommodation in Kruger, we headed off to stay at the private game reserve in Phalaborwa. The owner of Sefapane River Lodge, Joris Bertens was an amazing host and guide who allowed us to test anti poaching, wildlife monitoring and wildlife filming operations for 2 days. The final piece of film we captured was during a hand recovery of our multi rotor by Joris, just as he noticed a bull elephant behind him and hippo climbing out of the water in front of him, our pilot and brave co founder Steve Roest hid behind the nearest rock!
Our stay with Joris at the Sefapane reserve was fantastic, with amazing scenery, incredible wildlife and even veggie food. We are looking forward to returning and working with Joris in early 2014 and recommend anyone who has the opportunity, to book a place at this incredible lodge.
Our next deployment was at another private reserve in the greater Kruger area, where we will be deploying for an ongoing mission soon. This operation is covert, but news will come out in spring 2014.
We have been demonstrating the latest Tau 2 thermal camera from FLIR during this trip. This 640×480 resolution camera is able to distinguish between people and animals at night, whilst flown at 600ft above the ground. This optical equipment is the most significant advantage of UAV in anti poaching operations and although UAV may not be monitoring every park or reserve at the same time, but the poachers will never know whether or not they are under surveillance and there will be few places for them to hide when a UAV flies overhead.