Robotic animals decoys are being used to tackle illegal hunting activity across North America, as reported by The Washington Post.
The animal robo-cops aren't capable of running or walking, however they are able to move certain body parts to imitate the animal’s movement. Typically, they’re placed in an open area, where their movements are controlled by wildlife officers via a remote control. According to the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust (HSWLT), if a hunter shoots at the model, this is sufficient evidence to support the poacher’s prosecution.
The HSWLT donate animatronic models of deer, coyotes, bears, pronghorns, and other wildlife to areas with poaching problems. So far, they have donated 29 robots across North America and say they’re looking to fulfill 18 more requests from a selection of wildlife agencies. You can check out some of their work in the video below.
Other ventures, such as Custom Robotic Wildlife, sell these robotic taxidermy beasts to wildlife agencies. A regular deer model with a moving head and tail sells for $1,575. However, as explained by The Washington Post, agencies can make up to $30,000 in fines from each successful poacher they catch in the act.
The robo-animals have already had some success with their missions. Earlier this year, two men were prosecuted in Maryland after they illegally shot a robotic deer model with a crossbow. Thankfully, the deer only received "minor injuries."