On a dark night in Tarangire National Park, northern Tanzania, a small cheer rang out from a group huddled around a computer screen set up on the open savanah. The Delair Tech DT-18 UAV had just overflown the Tarangire River some eight kilometers to the east and the infra red image of two hundred buffalo rolled out on the monitor. Each animal distinct, walking in long lines, up out of the river valley.
It was an image which helped everyone see exactly how UAV surveilance could radically change the anti poaching equation. The idea is to have teams that can deploy widely, operate simply and cover ground. And by covering ground in the wildlife protection business you’re talking thousands of square kilometers. The DT-18’s arithmetic is simple because it can fly multiple missions every day, or to be more precise, every night, its coverage capability adds up to some impressive numbers. But what can it see?
And thus the cheer for the buffalo. You could count ten, you could see they were calm, you could see their direction, you could calculate their speed. With some intelligence and background you would know when they were in danger zones, when they neared vehicles or camps, what they had done yesterday. And this is a capability protection authorities could deploy at a days notice anywhere across a five thousand square kilometer ecozone.
Head of Protection at the Tanzania National Parks Authority, Mr. Kisamo Stephen, noted that “technology is going to be the key factor in curbing poaching. We will put it in place and it will make the difference”.
Along with Bathawk Directors, the engineers from the manufactures in France and TANAPA, the trial was attended by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, the Aftican Wildlife Foundation and Bathawk Pilot and Communication Officer trainees. PCO’s are to be the new front line in anti poaching if Bathawk’s plan to deploy UAVs is agreed and if Bathawk’s motto, We Own the Night, is to be achieved.
The DT-18 trials in Tarangire have been set up under the umbrella of the Private Sector Anti Poaching Initiative in which the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation is pressing to bring private sector energy and capacity to bear on the poaching crisis. Bathawk Recon is the pilot project.
Bathawk Recon is a private sector anti poaching service company registered in Tanzania to develop and deploy UAV surveillance for parks and reserves. The international poaching crises, driven by growing Asian economies is impacting
Tanzania’s wildlife at a potentially disastrous rate. Bathawk Recon will bring focused near term capability to combat this imminent danger to Tanzania’s wildlife heritage.