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When these drones zoom in over elephants and rhinos, they stop horrible things from happening.

A shepherd watches over sheep. Watching over elephants and rhinos? Not so easy.

When these drones zoom in over elephants and rhinos, they stop horrible things from happening.

This is a story about something really exciting.

Before I get into it, let me set the stage by explaining the terrible problem it's solving.

10 years.

That's how long it'll be until the last wild elephants and rhinoceroses are gone.


100 of them are killed every day by poachers.

Even though elephants and rhinos are legally protected, the amount of money that can be made from the ivory in their tusks is just too much for some people to resist.

So poachers go after elephants and rhinos in secret. They kill them in out-of-the-way places that are hard to patrol, and they do it at night under the cover of darkness.

Every hour, another elephant or rhino family is broken forever.

Now the Lindbergh Foundation has come up with an idea about how to stop poachers.

They've been testing their idea for two years now, and it really works.

Air Shepherd uses drones and computers to watch over elephants and rhinos the same way a shepherd protects his sheep.


It's an amazing international, hi-tech system.

The drones in Africa are decked out with normal and infrared cameras that see where the animals — and the poachers — are. Even in the dark of night.

That imagery is sent to computers in the U.S. Using special software, they send back flight plans to the drones that predict where the animals are headed, which keeps the drones on top of the poachers.

Local rangers are notified, and they sweep in on the poachers.

During the 600 tests they've run so far, precisely zero poaching has occurred.

It's a fantastic system.

Seven African countries have already requested help.

The Foundation has provided the seed money. They need contributions, though, so head over to the Air Shepherd site to see how you can get involved in this amazing project.

Please let your animal-loving friends know about this breakthrough program that could keep elephants and rhinos from going extinct. It's so exciting.

(Unfortunately, the Lindbergh Foundation's video has been removed from YouTube. But here's an NBC News report about the project.)

True

When Molly Reeser was a student at Michigan State University, she took a job mucking horse stalls to help pay for classes. While she was there, she met a 10-year-old girl named Casey, who was being treated for cancer, and — because both were animal lovers — they became fast friends.

Two years later, Casey died of cancer.

"Everyone at the barn wanted to do something to honor her memory," Molly remembers. A lot of suggestions were thrown out, but Molly knew that there was a bigger, more enduring way to do it.

"I saw firsthand how horses helped Casey and her family escape from the difficult and terrifying times they were enduring. I knew that there must be other families who could benefit from horses in the way she and her family had."

Molly approached the barn owners and asked if they would be open to letting her hold a one-day event. She wanted to bring pediatric cancer patients to the farm, where they could enjoy the horses and peaceful setting. They agreed, and with the help of her closest friends and the "emergency" credit card her parents had given her, Molly created her first Camp Casey. She worked with the local hospital where Casey had been a patient and invited 20 patients, their siblings and their parents.

The event was a huge success — and it was originally meant to be just that: a one-day thing. But, Molly says, "I believe Casey had other plans."

One week after the event, Molly received a letter from a five-year-old boy who had brain cancer. He had been at Camp Casey and said it was "the best day of his life."

"[After that], I knew that we had to pull it off again," Molly says. And they did. Every month for the next few years, they threw a Camp Casey. And when Molly graduated, she did the most terrifying thing she had ever done and told her parents that she would be waitressing for a year to see if it might be possible to turn Camp Casey into an actual nonprofit organization. That year of waitressing turned into six, but in the end she was able to pull it off: by 2010, Camp Casey became a non-profit with a paid staff.

"I am grateful for all the ways I've experienced good luck in my life and, therefore, I believe I have a responsibility to give back. It brings me tremendous joy to see people, animals, or things coming together to create goodness in a world that can often be filled with hardships."

Camp Casey serves 1500 children under the age of 18 each year in Michigan. "The organization looks different than when it started," Molly says. "We now operate four cost-free programs that bring accessible horseback riding and recreational services to children with cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening illnesses."

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