The One Use of Drones Everyone Can Agree on, Except for Poachers.

The 360-square-mile swath of wetlands and forests in the Himalayan foothills is difficult and costly to reach on foot, let alone patrol for poachers.

But this is the responsibility of forest rangers in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park.

Find out how University of Adelaide Lian Pin Koh’s drones are helping protect some of the world’s last remaining one-horned rhinoceroses and Bengal tigers the Smithsonian magazine article: “The One Use of Drones Everyone Can Agree on, Except for Poachers”.

A Falcon UAV unpiloted aircraft is bungee launched in a midday demonstration flight. Source:

A Falcon UAV unpiloted aircraft is bungee launched in a midday demonstration flight.

Lian Pin Koh is founding director of and Associate Professor and Chair of the Applied Ecology and Conservation group (AEC) in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and the Environment Institute, at the University of Adelaide.

TED Speaker and “Drones Ecologist” Lian Pin Koh joins the Environment Institute

His research has been featured in National Geographic, presented at TED Global 2013, named by Scientific American as in the Top 10 of “World Changing Ideas” and has been listed in the Nominet Trust “100 of the World’s Most Inspiring Social Innovations” list.

So it is no surprise that the Environment Institute is very excited to welcome Lian Pin Koh in 2014!

Founder of the non-profit ConservationDrones.orgLian Pin has shared his research at TED Global 2013 in a talk entitled “A drone’s-eye view of conservation”.

So what exactly is a “Conservation Drone“?  Essentially model planes that can be equipped with a camera and sensing equipment, these drones can be programmed to fly over wildlife zones previously difficult or too costly to reach. To use Lian Pin’s words, they are “the ultimate boy’s toy”. He has even had his share of detractors, claiming that they were just “fooling around with toy planes”.

As the accolades suggest, these are no ordinary toy planes. They are currently being used in Nepal in the fight against wildlife crime, in North Sumatra to monitor the number of orangutan nest in a remote rainforest, and to keep an eye on deforestation as a result of the growth of palm oil plantations.

Looking ahead, there is enormous potential for the drones to be used in conjunction with radio collar trackers for monitoring of endangered animal populations, or for collection of images from remote cameras via WiFi.

In short, they are a “game-changer for conservation research and applications”.

Lian Pin commences as Associate Professor with the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences this week at the University of Adelaide. Welcome Lian Pin, we look forward to following your exciting research!