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This article was published on December 1, 2018

Niger will use drones to protect almost extinct antelope species

Niger will use drones to protect almost extinct antelope species
iAfrikan News

When we think about endangered animals in Afrika at risk of extinction or being poached, we usually think of elephants and rhinos. This can be attributed to various factors including increased publicity around the increasing threats that rhinos and elephants face from poachers.

However, there are other endangered animal species in Afrika that also require as much protection and publicity.

Take the addax antelopes in Niger as an example. In 2016, the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) released their research report which stated there were likely only a handful of addax antelopes, specifically only 3, remaining in the wild in Niger.

The situation had deteriorated drastically as a few years before the 2016 report, researchers reported there were likely only 200 addax antelopes remaining in the wild in Niger. This is because of, as it is with rhinos and elephants, heavy poaching of addax antelopes as well as their habitat (Sahara desert) being under threat from oil installations operated by the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and associated encroachment that comes with oil exploration and drilling.

As a result, Niger is now turning to using drones as a means of surveillance and protecting the antelopes in its Termit and Tin Toumma nature reserve.

Using technology to protect wildlife

The drones will be used to help monitor not only the endangered addax antelopes, but also the dama gazelle, and cheetahs that also roam the park.

Interestingly, a French company called Noe has been awarded the 20 year contract to supply the drones and provide any associated services relating to operating the drones and monitoring the animals.

This is interesting because it has been revealed and wildly reported that the USA is building a large drone base in Niger. This base was also revealed when iAfrikan earlier in 2018 looked into the Strava heatmap for its fitness devices which are also used by USA’s army personnel.

It might just be co-incidence that a European company is setting up to use drones to monitor wildlife for a 20 year period in the same country that the USA is building a $240 million drone military base, or is that more than just a co-incidence?

The addax antelopes roam both Chad and Niger and it’s hoped that with the introduction of the drones, they will be protected from poaching.

This post was originally published by iAfrikan. Check out their excellent coverage and follow them down here:

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