Conservation Drones take off across Madagascar to save Protected Areas

In November 2023, the Conservation Allies team hosted a conservation drone training course near Andasibe National Park, in central eastern Madagascar. The Patrol team leaders of 11 Malagasy conservation organizations participated in the training.  As these members are on the frontlines of protecting Madagascar’s most important Parks and Reserves, the training they received during this course will be immediately put into action.

An area of clear-cut forest, documented by drone


Sophisticated conservation drones deployed


Partner organizations trained


of all Madagascar’s Protected Areas receiving increased protection

The use of drones in science has exploded in the last 10 years, revolutionizing the way that conservation projects and protected areas are monitored. They offer us a way to view areas that would otherwise be out of reach, while reducing time and labor expenditure, as well as disturbances to wildlife. Unfortunately, conservation technology is still less accessible to those in the Global South, which is why we are stepping in.

Conservation Allies transported 13 highly sophisticated conservation drones to our conservation Partners in Madagascar. These drones will be used in aerial surveillance, allowing patrol teams to locate and document illegal activities such as logging, poaching, and starting wildfires.  Drone patrols allow for rapid fire detection inside the forest, as they can scan for smoke much more effectively and efficiently than a ground patrol. Furthermore, drones increase safety in the field for conservationists in high-conflict areas by allowing patrollers to scan areas before physically reaching them, making the team much more equipped to avoid ambush.

 “I was scared the first time I used the drone. It was my first time. As I practiced during the training, I acquired the knowledge necessary to master the drone. We are really thankful for Conservation Allies’ training.”

Jean Luc, Madagascar Wildlife Conservation at Lake Alaotra

Drone flying training, led by Conservation Allies President Paul Salaman

Conservation Allies currently supports 42 partners working to patrol and protect 51 Protected Areas across Madagascar— this translates to almost ⅓ of the country’s Protected Areas now receiving greatly enhanced protection.  Conservation Allies strategically funds Green brigades, collaborative teams of rangers and local authorities working across parks and reserves to confront the greatest challenges and existential threats to Madagascar’s wildlife. Many of these Protected Areas host irreplaceable biodiversity, including species found nowhere else in the world.

Local children enjoying watching the drone training sessions

The drone training course was also an opportunity for each of our Malagasy Partners to come together and collaborate on solutions to challenges in patrolling Madagascar’s Protected Areas.  By joining forces, many Partners were able to identify ways in which they can continue to improve their conservation strategies, inspiring all participants to continue on with the difficult, demanding, and enormously rewarding work of saving the biodiversity of Madagascar.