Gabriel Bazzolo en GOD Games of Drones, IT - Information Technology, Technology Owner / Dueño • quDron Inc. 11/7/2018 · 2 min de lectura · +400

Game of Drones: Flying Dron squad, China's green vigilantes combat bird poachers

Game of Drones: Flying Dron squad, China's green vigilantes combat bird poachers

For much of the past year, Liu Yidan has patrolled the back roads of China in a black jeep, hunting for bird poachers. The former restaurateur is part of a growing and increasingly proactive network of vigilantes in China who monitor the countryside and animal markets to combat wildlife poaching, which is endangering the existence of some species. They hack down nets, track poachers with drone-mounted cameras, and chase traffickers. Their efforts peak in spring and autumn, when poachers are out in force as more than 50 million migratory birds fly through China . “It’s impossible to cut them all down,” Liu said. “While birds can fly around the world, when they come to China they often reach their end,” the 52-year-old told Reuters on the shores of Poyang Lake , China ’s largest freshwater lake, which is located in the southeast of the country. It attracts hundreds of thousands of migratory birds, including swans, geese and rare cranes. Mist nets and packets of Carbofuran, a pesticide used to drug birds, were found by Reuters correspondents in what is a pThe informal network attracts thousands of volunteers, reflecting growing public concern over environmental degradation and frustration at what they see as lax enforcement of environment laws - although China’s State Forestry Administration, which oversees nature conservation, says it operates a zero tolerance policy.

Unlike many Chinese environmental non-government organizations (NGOs) that have tended to focus on local issues, Liu is part of a coalition of some 40 groups around the country aiming to conserve bird and wildlife, especially from poachers. Despite tighter controls over civil society in China under President Xi Jinping, some analysts say authorities are allowing green groups like Liu’s a relatively wide berth, part of what analysts call “collaborative governance” in areas of the country allowing NGOs room to address non-political issues. China ’s voracious demand for ivory, horns, bones, fins and scales is well documented alongside the impact that appetite has on animals like the African black rhinoceros, Sumatran tiger and Chinese pangolin. Less known is how millions of birds are caught by poachers in China each year. The world's fourth-biggest country is a major transit point for birds flying thousands of kilometers on the East Asia/Australasia Flyway from summer breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere to wintering areas in the south. “This is a real bottleneck because on the migration routes... most of these birds have to pass China ,” said Johannes Kamp, a biologist from Germany ’s University of Munster who has studied the impact of hunting on birds in China . Based on figures collated by thousands of activists, poachers trap an estimated 7-10 million wild birds each year. An exact figure is difficult to ascertain and there is little public information on the prosecution of bird poachers to derive a clearer picture.

Last year, the bunting was reclassified as critically endangered, a category short of extinction in the wild, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global authority made up of governments and NGOs. Other birds affected by poaching in China include the chestnut, rustic and little buntings, say experts. The endangered spoon-billed sandpiper and Nordmann’s greenshank are not targeted for food but are vulnerable to bird nets. Activists say the challenge is daunting but they are encouraged by more green volunteers coming forward to beef up the anti-poaching network. And this is where the drones come in to help these brave volunteers, generally using the models available in the Chinese commercial market which, fortunately, is the largest in the world in terms of users and models, although they generally prefer to use DJI or Yuneec products for being the most reliable and those with the greatest availability of spare parts. Typically, drones are used to patrol hard-to-reach areas such as swamps and mudflats, as well as providing greater surveillance capacity to volunteers. Some of the lesser-known functions have to do with the possibility of providing images of poachers in order to present evidence to the courts, but it would be preferable for the Chinese government to make a greater effort to protect wildlife, if after all if they can invest huge amounts of resources in the construction of drones for destruction they can also make a small investment in the development of drones for the protection of life.

Gabriel Bazzolo