The news is out: ShadowView and The League Against Cruel Sports are collaborating on UAV operations to document illegal hunting in the UK. The Times newspaper
has been working on an exclusive for several weeks and today released the story: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article3715242.ece
ShadowView have been cooperating on a UAV surveillance programme with the League for several months, testing various UAV platforms in multiple locations and in a variety of conditions (including snow, rain and sub zero temperatures). The object of this collaboration has been to document illegal hunting in the UK. We cannot disclose precisely where we have filmed nor the details of footage that may or may not be used as part of any criminal cases against illegal hunters, but we can say we are gaining experience, will be ever more effective and will operate in an increasing number of locations throughout 2013 and beyond.
Filming from UAV’s is controversial, raising issues about privacy, but ShadowView’s response is straightforward says co founder Steve Roest: “We fly and film within the law and within the CAA flight regulations of the UK. We are filming illegal hunts, so if you’re not acting illegally you have nothing to worry about. It’s interesting that poachers and illegal hunters are the first to complain about invasion of privacy when activists document their crimes; I cannot imagine the police or courts being very sympathetic to an armed bank robber complaining that his crime was filmed, as being an invasion of his privacy.”
ShadowView announced this week that it will be operating on a mission in the Mediterranean this summer with The Black Fish and further missions will be announced in the coming weeks.
Finally we have a cost effective technology that provides a significant advantage to the ability of conservation non-profits to track, document and prosecute wildlife and environmental criminals. Will the criminals complain, certainly; will we catch and prosecute more of these criminals, certainly.