The dramatic increase in forest destruction and wildlife poaching has encouraged wildlife scientists and conservationists to explore the potential for using drones in surveillance and anti-poaching activities. For many years, the conservation world has lagged behind other sectors technologically – devoting tight budgets to immediate needs like putting boots and vehicles on the ground left no funding to explore and introduce advanced tools to improve wildlife management.

Case study

Palm is one of the sectors that require a lot of security forces because the level of theft of fresh fruit bunches is quite high, and other crimes related to plantations have also been rising. Palm prices have jumped over 15 percent in the last few months, boosting the temptation for individuals or small-scale criminal gangs to steal fruit to sell to middlemen in the world’s biggest producer of the tropical oil

Over the years this has always been a repetition of events, faced by PT Socfin Indonesia leading to huge loss of investments. PT Socfin Indonesia finally decided to contact MMC for a solution.

Identify the problem

With the MMC TEAM in place, we were briefed by the PT Socfin Indonesia about some of the challenges being faced over the years. Listed below are few of them

With plantations that can sometimes cover up to 30,000 hectares, the chance of identifying a thief at night is very difficult.
High cost of conventional way isn’t helping. Security personnel’s end up not covering all hectares of land.
Currently has about 200 security personnel guarding and yet results still remains the same year after year.

With this information, the MMC TEAM then designed a solution for PT Socfin Indonesia

1. Solution

The MMC TEAM, finally came up with 2 UAV’s (drone) platform solutions to help prevent the following:
Deter poachers from entering the plantation
Detect poachers prior to or during entrance into the park
Respond to a suspected poaching or criminal event in progress
Reduce inspection time and cost

These systems need to patrol almost constantly to effectively detect poachers before or as they enter the protected area and before they try stealing. Depending on the specific needs of the site, the system would include one or more UAVs with adequate endurance and range (i.e. 2-3 hours per flight, or 50-100 km per flight in a small reserve) and a series of high-quality sensors – including a gimbaled infrared camera to detect people at night – on board.

Drone Platform 1: Narwhal 1

This is a hydrogen fuel cell powered drone with a flight time up to 3 hours and a 5km operating range. With a maximum take of weight of 18kg, it has the capabilities to carry any payload up to 1.5kg. as a hydrogen-powered drone, the Narwhal 1 drone flies across the medium size of a plantation in one day and send back real-time image for detailed inspection.

Drone Platform 2: TD1200

This is a 24/7 operation drone, with a maximum take of weight of 15kg and a 5kg standard payload. It provides 24 hours and 7 days monitoring in the air and works well in all weather conditions (i.e. sunny, snow, raining)


After deploying MMC’s drone-based aerial intelligence platform, here’s what the PT Socfin Indonesia has to say:

Given the speed of collection and processing, they can now monitor and do forestry inspections in a single day. Have the first-hand daily report of any tree, crop situation.
Data with greater resolution and accuracy provide real-time image and video of the plantation situation to the timber owner or manager.
Reduced inspection time and costs make it possible to conduct more frequent patrolling, giving plantation managers the power to address hidden access earlier and prevent poaching
Using drones, timber managers have more information to track the poachers and have more evidences to put the thieves in charge.


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