Google funds drones to watch over endangered species in Africa and Asia

Warfare isn't the only use for drones these days. It turns out that Google is giving the World Wildlife Fund $5 million to put drones in the sky to watch over endangered species in Africa and Asia, mostly to save them from poachers. Plus, the money will also cover software that will be able to map out where poachers strike most.

The World Wildlife Fund has already been flying routes in Nepal with the drones, and they can fly around for up to an hour and use the on-board cameras to detect suspicious behavior. With this extra funding from Google, the organization will be able to extend drone use to Africa and Asia to try and catch poachers going after rhinos, elephants, tigers, etc.

The drones will act as supplements to the park rangers who are already on the hunt for poachers, and the drones will serve as "eyes in the skies" in remote regions. The World Wildlife Fund says that rhinos are highly desired for their horns, and the elephants for their tusks. Tigers are also wanted for everything from their eyes to their reproductive organs.

It turns out that various animal parts are prized possessions among some societies as having mysterious powers, and the demand for them for medical purposes is on the rise, so the rewards for poachers have grown so dramatically that rhinos risk being extinct within a few years unless poaching is stopped. Google's contribution may just help in that effort.

[via BBC News]