Flight School Update – Rhino Conservation Flight
After a very busy Christmas and New Year’s season, Flight School kicked off with a bang on Gondwana Game Reserve, as we took the Huginn X1 for its first Rhino Condition assessment flight. Our pilot in training, Rubin Snyman and the Wildlife team were up to the challenge and took to the sky for some ground breaking aerial White Rhino Conservation! White Rhino conservation is one of the core pillars of the GCF, and as such, we were excited to test the X1’s capability in assisting with a task traditionally done on foot or from a vehicle.
Over time, a rhino’s condition may suffer and it is thus important to monitor their health regularly. The health condition of a rhino is scored along a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being poor and 5 being excellent. Assessments are made of the rump, spine, neck, shoulder, rib and hindquarter areas. And as such, all of the above zones need to be clear in order to make a successfull assessment.
After assessing and scoring the two rhino traditionally, we were able to make our first ever aerial assessment. Overall Rubin and the team were definitely up to the task and were able to take some fantastic photographs and wonderful video footage. During the flight, Rubin was able to ensure that the rhino were always back lit allowing shadows to reveal the important body features on the Rhino. We were able to match up our flight scoring to our traditional scoring. Overall the flight produced very pleasing and useful results (both of the Rhino were in great condition!).
In an effort to maintain the health of the rhinos under our care, the GCF will continue to make use of the cutting edge technology produced by Danoffice IT and Sky-Watch. We will use these field operations to improve on traditional conservation methods and thus aid in the preservation of this amazing species for future generations. Conservation with wings!