“Osprey protecting whales”

Eco-activists using drones to protect whales in the Antarctic seas

The Japanese whalers are relentless so whale protectors have taken to the air to save  hundreds of whales – remote-controlled drone
Every morning for the past week, a battery-powered drone with a range of 300km (190 miles) has been launched from the MV Steve Irwin.  This ship is trying to frustrate the whalers into leaving their annual Japanese whale hunts in the waters off Antarctica.

“We first found the Japanese fleet when they were 28 nautical miles away,” said Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an international marine wildlife protection group based in the United States.

Watson has 88 crew on three ships, two of which are equipped with spotter drones.

With these drones Steve Watson hopes  to finally end the Japanese hunt and bringing publicity to the cause in Whale Wars, the Discovery channel documentary series that tracks the hunts: “Our goal is to bankrupt them and destroy them economically. Now that we can track them, it is getting easier.”

.For under £500, the drone used by Sea Shepherd can run for hundreds of hours . It was given to Sea Shepherd by Bayshore Recycling, a New Jersey-based solid waste recycling company committed to environmental protection. In addition to paying for the drone at an estimated cost of £10,000, Bayshore also paid for pilot training to run the remote control equipment. It is expected that drones will be used much more frequently to protect Mother Nature’s most endangered species on land and sea.

“Everyone here at Bayshore is thrilled with the Sea Shepherd’s news of not only saving the lives of many whales, but knowing our drone will continue to track the Japanese whaling fleet in this chase,” said Elena Bagarozza, marketing co-ordinator at Bayshore.

Watson expects drones will be used to patrol environmentally sensitive areas ranging from the Galapagos Islands to other famed wildlife areas, including South Africa’s Kruger National Park  by the Sea Shepherd crew and other environmental groups. It is very durable handling winds up to 40 knots, waterproofed and has multiple security backups so that if it has problems or low battery it automatically returns to base.


Excerpts courtesy of guardian.co.uk/environment

Image courtesy of guardian.co.uk/bveiga