Drone With Night Vision Tracks Down Poachers at Sea
In this week’s crime blotter: a hunt on the open water, a cop turned poacher, and the quest for endangered timber.
A mission straight out of a thriller movie took place on the night of April 15 when a crew with the ocean conservation group Sea Shepherd decided to take down poachers operating in Mexico’s territorial waters in the Gulf of California.
The suspects’ target, according to Sea Shepherd: the endangered totoaba, a little-known fish found only in the gulf whose swim bladders—the organ that helps them float—are in high demand in China for soups and medicines. This trade threatens not only the totoaba but also a critically endangered little porpoise called the vaquita, which gets caught in the gillnets used to illegally catch totoaba (whales, sharks, and other marine life also get trapped).
Sea Shepherd, known for its aggressive