Conservation takes flight

How drones are taking conservation and wildlife management to new heights

Join the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Matt Pretorius as he talks about how drones have been integrated into conservation activities in South Africa, the challenges and limitations encountered, and the opportunities still to explore. You can also book for a scrumptious dinner after the talk as well!

RSVP by 9 April to  or 011 372 3600
Dinner reservations must be booked and paid in advance by the RSVP deadline

Dinner & Talk
18:30 for 19:00

Dinner to be served at 20:15
Dress Code
Smart Casual

No shorts, t-shirts, or flip-flops
EWT Members    
R100 pp talk only
R300 pp dinner & talkNon-Members
R120 pp talk only
R320 pp dinner & talk
R200 pp dinner only
CCJ Members
R100 pp talk only
R300 pp dinner & talkCCJ Members RSVP
011 710 6406
Charges will be made to your Club Account


Less than a decade ago, remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), or drones, were a novelty in South Africa. They had fewer high-tech features, batteries were bulky and inefficient, with pilots satisfied with a 12-minute flight. Drone technology and capabilities in 2022 are vastly improved, with smart, artificial intelligence-enabled features, anti-collision devices, stronger motors, more efficient and safer batteries, heavier payload capacities, and a vast array of compatible cameras and sensors. Moreover, much of this technology now comes standard in consumer-level drones, allowing us to do more for much less.

For conservation practitioners, the most useful attribute of drones has remained the same – they provide an aerial perspective of different environments and wildlife within those environments that are difficult to access on the ground. So, how have drones been integrated into conservation and wildlife management activities in South Africa? What are the limitations and challenges to using drones in conservation, and what is the future of the industry? In this presentation, Matt Pretorius will explore these topics from the perspective of a conservation scientist and legal drone operator for the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).

Presenter bio:

Matt studied nature conservation at the Tshwane University of Technology, which included experiential training in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. There he developed a passion for owls and other raptors, and this led him to pursue a postgraduate study on African Grass Owls with the EWT’s Birds of Prey Programme. That was 14 years ago, and Matt has been with the EWT ever since, having made an internal switch to the Wildlife and Energy Programme in 2014. Matt’s training throughout his career has been largely experienced-based, and he has been exposed to a wide spectrum of practical, applied conservation projects. His more recent research has adopted a more experimental approach, testing the validity of current avian protection measures using robust data collection and analysis methods. These studies are not just intended to protect birds, but to ultimately improve electricity transmission and distribution performance, thereby helping to keep the lights on for South Africans. Matt is also a licensed drone pilot and has flown several conservation-oriented missions for the EWT since it became a legal operator in January 2021.

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Apr 12 2022


Optional dinner served at 8:15 PM
6:00 pm - 9:30 pm

More Info



Country Club Johannesburg
1 Napier Rd, Auckland Park, Johannesburg


Endangered Wildlife Trust

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