is a project by digital artist Robert Chew that addresses the issue of illegal poaching with the use of advanced drone technology. The drones take the shape of local African wildlife and utilize characteristics and traits specific to each. B5(Big Five)
With heavy armor, incredible strength, and great size the Elephant is employed in the field as a walking fortress for the patrols. Each unit is accompanied by 3 – 4 rangers. Depending on the situation the unit can be deployed as a solitary Bull Elephant or a Matriach which accompanies the herds. Matriachs are unmanned and lack the features to support human companions due to the close proximity to the herds. Typical roles of a Bull model featured here include supply/troop transport, mobile communications, heavy recon, night patrol platform, heavy lifting/obstacle clearing, and heavy support roles in combat.
Employed in large herds of real buffalo these units patrol the herd providing real time data and intel on the animals and the terrain around them. Accompanied to each unit is an entourage of miniscule bird shaped UAV’s built to mimic Oxpeckers. These little spies can easily transfer between the animals extending the observable area by many times. Due to the aggressive nature of the animals in protection the operator must remain at a distance from the primary herd. It is advisable to use either suppressed, air powered, or traditional weapons (bow and arrow/crossbow) so as not to scare the herd causing a stampede.
Ranger journal entry, Mika Zamani, April 4 2156. We had a rough day today. Zone 12C must be cursed, compromised, or otherwise no good because, like every other patrol, we ran into rogue drones. Makoni, our Buffalo drone, engaged 3 rogue lion drones. It was an incredible sight. Though they tore into him pretty good Makoni held them at bay long enough for us to disable them. Well that’s not entirely true. He messed one of them up pretty good. So good we sold it as scrap instead of trying to fix it. These drones were labelled rogue because there we no operators in the vicinity. It seems like these ones were dropped off by poachers in the bush and left to hunt on their own. Their programming must have been faulty as analysis showed that their AI cores had overrode their initiatives and had gone… “feral”… I guess thats the best way to describe it. Our technician didn’t know what to make of it. According to her this is another instance in a long stream of strange AI related issues that have been popping up recently. Back in the early 21st century, scholars in the West liked to talk about the grand unification of science, technology, and computers. A point in time when computers became self aware and started making decisions for themselves. I think they called it “The Singularity.” I wonder if that’s what this is all about. Regardless, those Lions won’t be hunting any time soon and the poachers will be disappointed in their lost pride…of Lions. The two we kept are being refitted, reprogrammed, and hopefully re-deployed back into the field. We could use their help, but the Rhino’s and Elephants need it more than us Humans. End Log
Wild Dogs are cheap, light weight, and easy to assemble. Used mostly for recon and scouting purposes, they can also function in offensive roles when operating in large packs. Speed and numbers make up for their general lack of defense and small size. Their low cost and ease of operations has made them popular among poaching organizations. Parts are relatively easy to smuggle and readily available on the black market. After market modifications are commonplace. Typical modifications include teeth swapping, leg reinforcements, modified optics, and tail transmitter replacement.
Panthera Pardus – Leopard The role of the Leopard consists of stealth, light recon, and as a force multiplier. Leopards are very lightly armored consisting mostly of exposed artificial muscles and the canvas covering them. Their greatest asset is the active camouflage system. The spots on the Leopard are evenly spaced and staggered with one full spot and a ring. Through visually sampling its surroundings the rosettes adjust their color to match. The information is passed on to the next rosette over which blends with the others. Perfect invisibility still has yet to be achieved, but when working in the bush the Leopards ability to blend has proven to be incredibly useful. (See chroma sub-sampling, thermo-optic camo from GITS, and active camo from MGS4) Hunting and tracking behavior is more or less the same as it’s real life counterpart. In most cases Leopards are deployed as solitary units consisting of the Leopard and ranger to provide tactical support to the other animal squads in the area. Perching and ambushing from tree’s is a popular tactic. Since it is lightly armored Leopard models can move quickly and quietly, able to maneuver and reposition with ease without giving away it’s location. The paws are padded to help lower noise signature. Like the Lions, the claws and teeth are made of tungsten carbide and are retractable. The eye covers provide different viewing spectrum’s and wide angle fields of vision. The daytime operations model has the tan/white covering while the night version resembles a Black Panther with deep blue/black coverings.
11-13-2157 Excerpt from patrol log:
The last Rhino in our patrol area was killed by poachers before we could save it. My squad arrived shortly after shots were fired and just as the Rhino went down.
We apprehended the poachers on the scene and disabled their drones, a pack of wild dogs in poor condition. While investigating and securing the scene our Lion managed to tackle another poacher we missed. He seemed to be the one in charge of the Wild Dogs. He wasn’t mauled…that badly. We were able to identify him once we got our Lion off and he’ll be making an appearance with his friends in the courts soon.
We managed to catch them before they removed the horn thus preserving the sanctity of the creature. However it was a bittersweet victory compared to the loss of the Rhinoceros.
I’ll be transferring with my squad to another park. Our work is done here. There is no pride in that statement. I wonder how much longer the Rhino’s can last. I also wonder how much longer I’ll be Ranger at the rate they’re dying off.
Kudu Drones. While formidable in appearance Kudu drones are typically used for reconnaissance and observation. Theirs horns are long and can pierce most body armor, drone armor, and thin vehicle plating but they will only engage in combat as a last resort. Swift, graceful, and alert they are the perfect eyes and ears for any ranger or research operation.
For a split second time slowed to a crawl as Natalie Mbotho exploded from the low brush to ambush her prey, a band of poachers roving through the park. Low hanging branches scratched at her skin as she rushed through the Bush, a carbon blade machete in each hand. She was immediately out paced by her twin partners, Mlungisi and Mondli, two proud grizzled Sable drones. Their curved horns caught the moonlight giving them the appearance of great sickles cutting through the night as they charged ahead. She was a rogue, a vigilante, as they spoke of her and her colleagues on the encrypted ranger frequencies. Once a ranger herself, she had grown tired of seeing the poached animals, the corruption, and the poachers walking away free. Seeking to make a difference Natalie went off the grid and took the fight directly to the source busting small poaching groups and anonymously reporting animal sightings to anyone who would listen. Everything changed when the twins found her. They represented a greater power at work within the reserve, a spirit within that wanted to fight back and protect the animals they represented. They were looking for a kindred soul to fight with them. Two years ago she was recruited and she smiled at the thought of it, the wind rushing rushing past her face as she sprang in to join the only fight that really mattered to her.