Google cash to help in poaching fight

Dec. 6, 2012 at 6:10 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A grant from Google will allow conservationists in Africa and Asia to employ technology for the protection of endangered species, a wildlife group says.

The World Wildlife Fund says the Google cash will give wildlife rangers in protected areas and local communities new tools such as surveillance drones in the battle against organized and well-armed criminals targeting wildlife.

Small autonomous drones controlled from tablet computers will be able to photograph poachers and track animals via smart radio tags, a WWF release reported Thursday.

The $5 million grant is part of Google's Global Impact Awards, supporting organizations using technology to address global problems.

Increasing demand for wildlife and animal parts, particularly in Asia, offers high profits and is leading to an illegal trade worth $7-$10 billion annually, WWF officials said.

"We face an unprecedented poaching crisis," WWF President Carter Roberts said. "The killings are way up.

"We need solutions that are as sophisticated as the threats we face. [The Google grant] pushes the envelope in the fight against wildlife crime."

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