Conservationists are taking a page from the U.S. government in the fight against poaching — they’re sending in the drones.

Already in use in Indonesia and soon to be in the air in Nepal, the drones can monitor protected areas where endangered species are hanging out. If they see a poacher, they leap into action.

Unlike the U.S. government’s drones, though, they do not send quantities of explosives down to blow up a wedding destroy the enemy. They merely alert humans to go check out the situation.

Perhaps because they’re not instruments of death, these drones are cheap, at $2,500 a piece, and run on electric batteries. That means they’re viable anti-poaching tools even in areas where wildlife conservation doesn’t rank top on the budget.

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Plus, sooner or later, the U.S. military will want to offload its old drones. Retrofit those puppies to fire some kind of giant high-speed net, and you have the basis for a killer movie that’s kind of half Batman, half Mark Trail.

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