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Sea Shepherd have taken to the skies. Well kinda... taking a leaf out of the US military manual the anti-whaling activists have gotten themselves a drone!

The battery powered, remote-controlled aircraft has a range of 300km, and feeds back GPS co-ordinates, live video and still images to the activist ships to pinpoint the Japanese whaling fleet. It's already clocked up one victorious mission, with one sortie for the drone allowing the ship Steve Irwin to track a whaler over 28 nautical miles away. The three ships belonging to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are all equipped with drones, donated by Bayshore Recycling, a New Jersey-based, environmentally-minded recycling company.

Once only used in high-tech military operations by the US air force and Israeli spies, drones are now becoming more and more commonplace, and affordable! You can pick one up for as little as £300 (google it if you don't believe us), control it with yer smartphone and use for whatever you wish. Now available to the general public, the mind boggles as to what new and inventive (and potentially terrifying) applications this technology could now have once dastardly people start customising and modifying them.  Meanwhile after the drones found the whalers, Sea Shepherd engaged in a six hour stand off with one of the Japanese Yushin Maru 3. See www.seashepherd.org

* 2012 could well turn out to be the year of the drone (or UFO sightings), after November saw a drone sent up by activists in Warsaw to keep an eye on the Polski Police during protests, while Moscow's largest demo in December was also monitored from above. For footage and more see www.forums.whyweprotest.net

Stories about similar subjects...

Things are heating up in Antarctica as Sea Shepherd and the Japanese whaling fleet are about to come head to head for the 9th season.

Environmental activist is released after seven years imprisonment.

Anti-road protestors in Bexhill were ambushed by an early start to the tree-felling on the controversial Bexhill-Hastings link road this week, but they rallied and using direct action have put a spanner in the works.

Restart of fracking after year and half delay set to amp up resistance

Activists gather outside UN talks at Doha, Qatar as negotiators pretend to debate climate change.

Despite the amazing success of the counter-mobilisation that saw this year's planned badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire cancelled in October DEFRA are already looking for new cull zones.

Anti-Nuclear activists blockade UK plants to protest the extent of destruction upcoming expansion will cause.

UPDATE: The sh*t's well and truly hit the fan since we published this interview last week... Stay tuned for more SchNEWS from the front...

Twitter: @SchNEWS