Resources & Climate

The Other Side of Drones: Saving Wildlife in Africa and Managing Global Crime

in Program

On 23 May 2013, poachers brutally killed a rhinoceros in Lake Nakuru National park, Kenya. Three days later, poachers attacked and killed two rhinoceroses in two separate incidents: at Solio Ranch near Nyeri in central Kenya, and at Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo West National park. Just one day later, more poachers shot a rhinoceros at Meru National park in northern Kenya. On 29 May 2013, two more rhinos were killed on a private ranch in Oserian Wildlife Sanctuary. All told, seven rhinoceroses were killed in less than a week, as poachers stepped up their deadly campaign in Kenya and throughout Africa. As the negative consequences of poaching are felt in Africa and around the world, governments and law enforcement may have a way to counter this threat: the use of unarmed surveillance drones.

The ethical and legal framework – or lack thereof – concerning the use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has dominated the global debate over drones. Comparatively little attention is given to non-weaponised vehicles. yet surveillance drones may be one of the sharpest tools available when managing transnational crime and terrorist threats. In addition, they can assist in furthering national economic development aspirations in countries across Africa. As such, surveillance drones should be more broadly considered and governments, multilateral organisations and technology innovators need to work across the security–development spectrum to achieve mutually beneficial goals. in that vein, innovative partnerships to stop complex transnational challenges – such as illegal poaching – may also provide opportunities to bridge the security–development divide.

To read the full journal click here.(page 3)

Other related publications:

Killing Lions, Buying Bombs (The New York Times, August 12, 2013)

Unarmed Drones Can Strengthen US And African Security (International Business Times, July 16, 2013)

Public-Private Partnerships Essential to Combat Poaching (World Politics Review, May 1, 2013)

You can read more about Stimson’s Commission on U.S. Drone Policy by clicking here.


This journal was first published in the Conflict Trends, 2013/3

Photo by UN Photo/John Isaac

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