The Sacred Elephant of Asia

Drone Seeding - Bringing Forage to the Inner Forests

Sri Lanka and Karnataka, Western Ghats

Why is this Beneficial to our Conservation Initiatives ?

Success of this system would be a game changer for human/elephant conflict, as the elephants would potentially have an abundant supply of forage within the inner-forest regions - a place where they have nearly completely abandoned.

Dr. Tharaka agreed that this is the kind of innovation he's looking for in Sri Lanka and is supportive of our pilot study. It would be fantastic to have your help in designing such a system.

Technology Description: A specially configured drone could be fitted with a seed dispersal system (rotating head) which would allow seeding of wet corridors, like streams, wetlands, springs etc. The drone's route would be mapped beforehand based on the above parameters, and the downloaded route would allow the casting of seed in hard to reach places. We would be casting the seed of palatable bamboo. The purpose is to promote the growth of bamboo in the inner forest areas, which would draw the elephants away from the farmland and associated human conflicts.

History: In the Karnataka region of India such bamboo seed was broadly cast by helicopter in a little known pilot study. This experiment was conducted about 30 years ago; local naturalists, and field excursions convinced us of the programs’ success.  Where stands of live bamboo had prolific quantities of nearby elephant droppings dead stands bore no activity. Unfortunately, the bamboo species has about a 30 year life and the vast majority of bamboo clusters are now merely standing dead. Another round of seed-casting should be undertaken, but no one is taking the initiative.

Design: Our drone prototype is being designed by Paul Vann, a drone innovator based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Paul has designed competition-winning Kevlar drones and currently is supplying drones for the Sri Lankan Navy and the Wildlife Department.