Can modern border technology save them?
“Poaching has devastating consequences for wildlife. In some instances, it’s the primary reason why an animal faces a risk of extinction. This is the case with the African elephant, more than 100,000 of which were killed between 2014 and 2017 for ivory. Poaching has also had a catastrophic impact on rhinos, with more than a thousand slaughtered a year for their horns.”
The problem with drones.
“There are technological limitations to drones’ usefulness. Drones are restricted by the very features that make them attractive. They have a limited battery life, range must be within line-of-sight of the operator, and any malfunction can lead to an expensive crash. The payload (thermal-imaging equipment etc.) can make them heavy, and gusty winds, hilly terrain or other unfavourable environmental conditions can make them difficult to operate.
“Most importantly perhaps, drones may be unmanned but they still require skilled operators. A drone is only as good as its operator. If the operator has not received sufficient training, the capabilities will not be fully utilised.”
“When UAVs did get off the ground, poachers proved difficult, if not impossible to locate in expansive protected areas, some of which are the size of small countries.”
– BBC Jan. 30, 2019
SEIDARM TO THE RESCUE
A drone is next to useless unless you know exactly where to send it.
SEIDARM uses a patented system to send a drone exactly where it needs to go.
Special seismic sensors detect human activity and a drone, Hermes, is sent to intercept and send live video of the suspects.
SEIDARM comes in five-mile segments that can be linked to provide seamless “sonic barrier” of any length. A drone (or drones) is located at the center of each segment.
Multiple, triangulated sensors located the target within a 200 foot circle. SEIDARM moves the target circle as the drone flies toward the target.
The target is reached in – at most - two minutes and a search pattern is executed to assure detection and identification. Live video is sent to a control center.
Once suspects are spotted, operators at the control center – or in the field - can use a touch screen to automatically track them – or assume control of the drone directly.
Hermes can remain with suspects for up to twenty minutes – time enough for ground resources to arrive – or have a plan to intercept.
A single command tells HERMES to return base and land automatically.
Drones are housed in protective silos that open and close upon launch and recovery. Each silo contains a carousel of batteries that are swapped upon recovery. Recharge is by solar energy.
If necessary, the drone can launch again in minutes.
SEIDARM alone can be installed for roughly $95,000 per mile – tiny compared to a wall or electrified fence. It is buried and solar powered. Cabling is encased in pipe and is vandal-proof. Off-the-shelf oil exploration hardware assures high reliability and low maintenance.
Drones are expected to cost in the range of $3,000.
Drone silos are portable. Where a drone is needed a silo, including drone and battery carousel, is brought to the site by truck and mounted on a concrete pad. All that is needed to begin use is to plug in the solar power source.
Automatic drone launch and recovery operation avoids damage from human handling. The controlled silo environment should give the drone thousands of hours of reliable operation and use.
SEIDARM/HERMES can save the lives of threatened animals by using reliable, modern technology instead of costly human-controlled drones.
GETTING THE JOB DONE
For the past eleven years American Border Patrol has proven the concept of SEIDARM as a reliable, accurate detection system. For seven years, ABP has tested the system with a variety of drones - most recently the DJI Inspire II. This experience convinces ABP that the job of putting the system together ready for use to protect wildlife can be done without great technical risk.
All that remains to ready the system for the wildlife refuge is to complete the final design and test the full system as one, including portable silos. This can be done at American Border Patrol’s Arizona border test range.
MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION
You can help save the lives of elephants and rhinos by donating to American Border Patrol, a 501 c (3) charitable organization.