How Drones Are Being Used to Help Stop Poaching

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Tsavo, a region in Kenya, contains the world’s largest elephant population, and thus, it is a prime target both for poachers and conservationists. Nonetheless, policing the 8,150-square-mile area is a daunting task. With some clever math and the help of drones, though, Penn State University researchers are helping to make that task much easier.

The idea of how to effectively patrol large areas is a very old and well-studied math problem. Because elephants can travel 20 to 40 miles per day, effectively narrowing down search areas is critical to being able to monitor their well-being. In the case of poachers, it comes down to understanding two things: where the elephants are and where poachers are most likely to attack them.

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