Windhoek - A private conservation trust in Namibia on Friday said it aimed to raise five million Namibian dollars to acquire flight drones to battle rhino poaching in remote areas.
"We want to procure aerial technology from various parts of the globe to assemble and test drones in northern Namibia for rhino and elephant protection," said Henri Slabbert, founder of the Next Generation Conservation Trust (NGCT).
"High end technology must be deployed to stop poaching in Namibia. An eye in the sky, so to say, will be very effective," Slabbert said.
The Trust wants to assemble 14 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones adapted to Namibia's conditions, when the fundraising is successful.
Each UAV will have a six-metre wingspan and will cover 20 000km².
With all 14 UAVs in the air, they will cover 280 000km² in northwestern Namibia.
According to Slabbert, drones are much cheaper to keep in the air than helicopters.
The NGCT wants to achieve sustainable aerial surveillance to protect Namibia's rhino and elephant populations from illegal poaching and to support the tourism and hunting industries.
Last year, 24 rhino and 79 elephants were poached in Namibia, a bloody surge after two decades largely free from poaching.
Namibia has a successful communal tourism industry in rural areas, where local communities derive benefits from photo tourism and selected trophy hunting, which also created many jobs for them.
Namibia is the home of free-roaming black rhino and the world's only free-roaming desert adapted elephants and world famous desert lions.