In a future Serengeti, illegal poaching continues to deplete the wildlife population, but conservationists have extraordinary new tools to protect endangered animals: robots that take the forms of those animals to blend in with the wildlife and capture poachers.
Artist Robert Chew's Big Five series of illustrations imagine a network of wildlife rangers and the animal inspired robots they use in an attempt to make poaching a thing of the past. (Although one illustration reveals that the poachers have fearsome robots of their own.) He frequently adds companion drawings showing off the features of his robots, and usually includes short blurbs about the roles of the robots, including this one about the White-Back Vulture robots:
Vultures patrol protection zones providing aerial recon and basic first aid capabilities. Their main job is to locate recently poached animals and mark them for investigation. If anti-poaching units are in the area the Vulture can land near the corpse of the animal and protect the body from consumption by other animals. Compartments in the wings and the chest area house basic first aid supplies to aid in field operations. These include bandages, tourniquets, antivenom, antiseptics, resuscitators, field rations, and water among other things. Another function is to transport DNA samples of poached animals quickly and efficiently for analysis to help keep records up to date about the remaining animal populations.Vultures also serve as locators for tagged ivory and rhino horn. By locating signals from planted GPS units Vultures can help anti-poaching units and law enforcement locate the contraband and hopefully the poachers as well.
Overall the Vulture units serve as aerial watchdogs as well as CSI. Though they are non-combatant's their auxiliary functions aid greatly in field operations.
But Chew is doing more with these images than building a world; he's also raising money for the International Anti-Poaching Foundation. Some of his illustrations are available as prints from InPrint, and the profits will go to benefit the IAPF.