Do Not Fear, the Drones are Here: A Rhetorical Analysis of The Associated Press’ “In South Africa, Drones Used to Battle Rhino Poaching”

In the Associated Press’ article, “In South Africa, Drones Used to Battle Rhino Poaching,” the purpose of the article is to spread the word about the use of drones in aim to conserve Africa’s wildlife by identifying poachers in the wild. The Associated Press is a news journal that is neither privately nor government owned. It is a non-profit organization that employs the latest technology to collect and distribute content efficiently and effectively. Through my research, I found that AP stands out from other forms of news services because they incorporate such a strong presence of social media. AP is currently transitioning it’s video and photography content; transitioning to high definition structures and expanding it’s coverage.

This specific article was written about Air Shepherd Initiative, an organization whose aim is to stop poaching by flying drones over various areas of South Africa. This organization states that,”flying in one area where as many as 19 rhinos were killed each month, there have been no deaths – for more than six months – none at all” (Air Shepherd Initiative).  According to their website, this method has been found to be the most effective in stopping poachers. They believe that wherever they fly is where the poaching ultimately slows down or stops. Over the last half-dozen years, there has been a significant increase in the killing of animals for the use of their ivory. Air Shepard’s research suggests that, “Across the continent of Africa, over 100,000 elephants were killed between 2010 and the end of 2012.  At this rate all of the elephants in Africa could be killed within 10 years.  For rhinos the outlook is equally grim.  In 2013, over 1,000 rhinos were killed just in South Africa alone” (Air Shepherd). In some cases, rhino horn and elephant ivory have been valued at almost $500,000 each.This article appeals to two audiences: poachers and animal advocates. From a poacher’s view, this article may be a vital source for them. Since the use of these drones are a threat to their livestock and money, they may keep an eye on news like this by finding means of destroying drones or figuring out where they are located. Poachers may begin to refrain from entering the drone infested areas or simply lay low on the poaching until the drones clear the area. So far, they have found means of hiding with vegetation. They cover themselves with plants and hide in bushes. On the contrary, advocates, just as myself, see this as a positive means of ending poaching. Aside from poaching, the article states that, “In Belize, where the Wildlife Conservation Society helped deploy drones to successfully monitor a protected reef area for illegal fishing, according to David Wilkie, director of conservation measures for the group” (New York Times).

Drones have not only saved the lives of elephants and rhinos, but they have saved marine life as well. The APS states, “In a drone mission in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi recently observed by an Associated Press team, operators looked for heat-emitting objects that appear white and vertical on the screen, similar in shape to a rice grain. Three vertical rice grains are a giveaway because poachers often work in threes — a tracker, a shooter with a heavy-caliber rifle and a carrier with supplies and an axe to hack off rhino horn for eventual sale on an illegal Asian market” (Torchea). The Drones sense heat waves radiating off humans although they sometimes catch animals as well. Although drones have been found to be a huge use to animals, they are still a project with tweaks that must be improved. The levels of poaching have plummeted since the drones arrived but quickly picked up as soon as they left which means they are highly effective. However, researchers worry that park staff may corruptibly be tipped by poachers for information about whereabouts. This article emphasizes the immense demand for ivory across Asia and Africa and its thrive upon the black market.

As drones begin more funding, they air-shepherd-drones-to-fight-against-elephant-poaching-11will expand and be used in all regions around the world. US News, states that, “Each UDS drone has a composite foam fuselage and a 7.9-foot (2.4-meter) wingspan, relying largely on durable, off-the-shelf technology and costing about $12,000, half of which is for the cameras” (Torchea). Companies such as Google have funded these drones, there are high hopes for the future of animals, especially in the African region. The goal of this initiative is to put an end to poaching altogether in a very inhuamane way. Through this, poachers will obtain the message that they are not wanted in these regions and that when they poach; they are at risk for serious consequences.

Works Cited

“The Solution – Air Shepherd Initiative.” Air Shepherd Initiative. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May          
            2016.
Tochea, Christopher. “South African Conservationists Use Anti-poaching Drones in Two
            Wildlife Parks to Try Curb the Slaughter of Rhinos.” US News. U.S.News & World
             Report, 23 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 May 2016.
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