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Anti-Poaching / Article UAVs: Innovative anti-poaching solution Dr Thomas Snitch, Senior Professor, Institute of Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland shares his insight on how satellites, algorithms and UAVs are used to target poachers in Africa T he global poaching situation has reached crisis proportions. In India, 17 tigers have been killed by poachers since January, 2015 while estimates suggest that 66 tigers were poached in 2014. Even leopards — with 116 killed in 2014 in India — have become the target of poachers. Most disturbingly, in 2014 about 1215 rhinos were killed in South Africa for their horns, which end up in Vietnam as purported cures for cancer and as enhancers of virility. Similarly, it is estimated that over 30,000 African elephants were slaughtered last year for their ivory that was turned into bracelets and trinkets in China. To put that in perspective, the world loses three rhinos a day and an ele- phant every 15 minutes. Simply stated, about 100 elephants 44 / Geospatial World / April 2015 are slaughtered every day, and the brutal fact is that is this is an unsustainable situation. Technology comes in In the past 10 years, the poaching of these and other animals, as well as rare plants, has increased exponentially, primarily because it has become one of the most lucrative criminal businesses on the planet. Rhino horns can fetch $50,000 per kilogram,which costs more than any illegal narcotic. A pair of elephant tusks may fetch about $125,000. Most of these illegal activities are run by Asian crimi- nal syndicates. There are well founded beliefs that some of the proceeds from this illegal activity are being funnelled