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Album: Advanced Drone Training for Rangers, Tanzania

Check out pictures from the latest Human-Elephant Conflict – Drone training workshop we conducted at Tarangire National Park in partnership with the Mara Elephant Project and Tanzania’s wildlife departments: Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI)Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA), and Tanzania Wildlife Division (WD). The training was timed to prepare district wildlife rangers for the upcoming crop season to use for mitigating human-elephant conflict (HEC) in communities surrounding the park. HEC has been identified by wildlife managers as a timely threat to elephant conservation globally; higher incidents of crop raiding lead to retaliatory killings of elephants and drive up poaching.

The goal of the training was to provide advanced training for rangers from our November training session, and to develop a model for ranger-to-ranger drone training. We hope to continue this program through an upcoming crowdfunding campaign which will fund further targeted UAV capacity in East Africa and create HEC response teams equipped to work with communities and safely move elephants back to park boundaries. The workshop was led by two rangers from Mara Elephant Project, Dickson Njapit and Steven Ekeno, with assistance from Marc Goss.

For more information on the project and trainings please contact Nathan Hahn at nhahn@resolv.org

A Baobab tree rises above the landscape in Tarangire National Park. This was captured by the Inspire drone, the newest model in DJI's lineup The full team, including the rangers, trainers, and film crew The training team preps the drones for flying on the first night Marc Goss does some maintenance on the drones during the first night of the training Our wonderful cooks! A Vervet monkey walks through the camp in the early morning. They look cute until they steal your breakfast Dickson Njapit, a ranger from the Mara Elephant Project sent to co-lead the training, uses the "drone hug" technique to help TAWIRI ranger Octavian control the drone on his first flight Steven Ekeno, the other training ranger from MEP, guides TAWIRI ranger Hezron during the first flight session Marc Goss  goes over some basics in the classroom. We used classroom sessions to discuss tactics and break down film from flight sessions The rangers pile up to head to the training grounds An elephant looks on as we drive through Tarangire National park Ryo from the DJI film crew, gets some shots for the film featuring this unique training and use of their Phantom drones A group of Ostriches in the tall grass. After sustaining thousands of animals through the drive season, the rains have started and many species have migrated away from Tarangire. Rangers assemble to practice flying maneuvers Rangers line up to fly an obstacle course through the bush You have to watch out for surprise animal crossings around here Everyone takes a break after a long flying session BWS research fellow Nadia interviews Boniface, of WCS, for the BWS Wildlife Technology Needs Assessment. The assessment seeks to identify the most pressing problems for conservationists and biologists to focus our tech developments along these lines. Human-elephant conflict has so far been the most-listed problem for wildlife managers taking the survey. Officials from TAWIRI, TANAPA and Wildlife Division discuss the training developments during a break Nathan works on the battery charging station during the break. The most difficult logistical challenges for these trainings are how to balance flying and charging times. Nathan and Marc experiment with night flying. One of the objectives for this training was to define best practices for flying at night, which is when a significant portion of crop raiding takes place. Here, they are using an Infrared camera, but also tried different light sources attached to the drone. Our training vehicle The team zooms down dirt roads along the park boundary on the lookout for elephants leaving the park Watermelons which were destroyed during an elephant crop raid on a previous night. Subsistence farmers can lose everything during a single night of crop raiding The rangers practice flying at night Rangers huddle around a phone screen to practice flying using only a live feed from the drone camera. From left, Dickson, Kateto, Hezron, Jonas and Octavian Marc prepares bags of chili powder that will be strapped to the drone and can be sprinkled on stubborn elephants A lesson in proper chili powder deployment Steven looks on as rangers practice flying with a payload of chili Steven looks on as Said practices flying with a payload of chili A chili fence, which uses a mixture of old engine oil and chili powder, A Maasai boy and his bike The team prepares for an interview for the DJI film A farmer shows Dr. Lejora, of TANAPA, some of his crops Visits to the community helped introduce the program and explain what was happening to help keep elephants away from crop fields. They were also asked to call the rangers to report elephants in the future. Visits to the community helped introduce the program and explain what was happening to help keep elephants away from crop fields. They were also asked to call the rangers to report elephants in the future. Visits to the community helped introduce the program and explain what was happening to help keep elephants away from crop fields. They were also asked to call the rangers to report elephants in the future. Sheep and goats walk along the landscape in the community area outside the National Park. Maasai are traditionally nomadic pastoralists, and some still maintain large herds of livestock. However, they are beginning to switch to agriculture, which has caused an uptick in HEC incidents An elephant chows down near the side of the road in Tarangire National Park An elephant crosses the road directly in front of the vehicle in Tarangire National Park Battery charging is a key logistical challenge during trainings. The team had to use creative ways to keep the batteries charged Our wonderful cooks for the training preparing lunch on jikos Our wonderful cooks for the training preparing lunch on jikos The traditional Maasai dance. Visits to the community helped introduce the program and explain what was happening to help keep elephants away from crop fields. They were also asked to call the rangers to report elephants in the future. Visits to the community helped introduce the program and explain what was happening to help keep elephants away from crop fields. They were also asked to call the rangers to report elephants in the future. Visits to the community helped introduce the program and explain what was happening to help keep elephants away from crop fields. They were also asked to call the rangers to report elephants in the future. Visits to the community helped introduce the program and explain what was happening to help keep elephants away from crop fields. They were also asked to call the rangers to report elephants in the future. Rangers practiced flying from the vehicle, which is essential to learn when moving elephants over longer distances Rangers fetch a drone stuck in an Acacia tree Rangers practiced flying from the vehicle, which is essential to learn when moving elephants over longer distances A Maasai community member tries out FPV goggles. Visits to the community helped introduce the program and explain what was happening to help keep elephants away from crop fields. They were also asked to call the rangers to report elephants in the future. A Maasai community member takes a turn holding DJI's filming equipment. Visits to the community helped introduce the program and explain what was happening to help keep elephants away from crop fields. They were also asked to call the rangers to report elephants in the future. A beetle on the BWS hat Nathan, a trainer from BWS, does maintenance on the drones. Rangers were trained on how to keep the machines functioning, including replacing broken propellers, motors and the compass. Graduation day. Rangers received diplomas for completing the advanced UAV training course, and are now certified to fly with elephants to move them away from crops The training team relaxes after a long day in the field. From top left, clockwise: Nathan Hahn, Jonathan Konuche, Steven Ekeno, and Dickson Njapit Graduation day. Rangers received diplomas for completing the advanced UAV training course, and are now certified to fly with elephants to move them away from crops Graduation day. Lucas Malugu from TAWIRI presents diplomas. Rangers received diplomas for completing the advanced UAV training course, and are now certified to fly with elephants to move them away from crops Graduation day. Rangers received diplomas for completing the advanced UAV training course, and are now certified to fly with elephants to move them away from crops Graduation day. Rangers received diplomas for completing the advanced UAV training course, and are now certified to fly with elephants to move them away from crops The Rangers pose with their newly earned certificates. Back row (from left): Said, Timotheo, Hezron, Boniface, Nathan, Dickson. Front Row (from left): Kateto, Godfrey , Jonas, Octavian, Joseph , Steven Rangers relaxed after the training wrapped up. From left: Octavian Kabunazya, Timetheo Delay and Hezron Luhende As the training wraps up, inventories are taken to ensure all the equipment is packed away safely. Pilot log books were given to the rangers to record flights during the crop season Kateto, a ranger from the Honeyguide Foundation, gives an interview to the DJI film crew A group picture to wrap up the training

One Comment

  1. ramadhani musa says:

    that is nice idea to get good use of drones to protect the wildlife