Conservationists say Zimbabwe and Malawi are allowing flights by anti-poaching drones as part of an initiative supported by Google and the WWF conservation group.

The drones, which look like large model airplanes, also have flown in South African wildlife areas. They are part of the Air Shepherd program of the U.S.-based Lindbergh Foundation.

The drones, which can act as a highly visible deterrent to poachers fearing capture, have already started flying in Malawi's Liwonde National Park.

Drone operator Otto Werdmuller Von Elgg, who is based in South Africa, said Friday that one of his teams plans to start operations next week in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe's biggest reserve.

Some poachers in Hwange have used cyanide to poison elephants in large numbers before cutting off their tusks.