Reno drone company hoping to protect wildlife

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Updated: 4/14/2014 6:27 pm
RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- The use of drones can often spark controversy, but there is one use that may gather lots of support. A local company is hoping to help us better understand and protect wildlife through drones.

When you think of drones, you may not think of wild life conservation. But there is a local company called Drone America that may change that perception.

There is a drone made and designed by a Reno company. It is back from a weekend in Las Vegas, where it was featured in a broadcasting and electronics convention. It caught the eye of a manufacturer of a sophisticated movie camera.

"This one is configured with a Cineflex camera, and which is for making movies amonst other things," said Drone America President and CEO Mike Richards. "We hope to be linked into making documentaries regarding wildlife and elephants later this year."

But drone use is not limited to movie and doumentary making. Richards said this drone can also directly protect wildlife, and can be used to fight poachers. "A lot of the small drones you've seen on the news that have been tested in those locations have a short flight duration and limiited information and surveillance, reconnaissance capability."

This is important, because this drone is bit larger and can fly higher, which means it is away from the dangers of poachers who might try to shoot it down. "You can actually fly above three to five thousand feet, so trying to shoot one of these down would be like trying to swat a bee inside a tennis court."

While drones are already being used in poaching operations, Richards predicts larger and more versitle drone use is not too far away from the future.

Richards also said drones can fly long-term, doing the work from above that would be too dangerous to do from the ground. In addition to catching poachers, long-term use could also work because it would serve as a deterrent.
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