From delivering beer to ice fishermen to observing endangered species in Animal Sanctuaries, is there anything a drone can’t do? While the National Park Service states the use of drones in National Parks drastically disturbs animals such as the incident in which a drone was used to buzz a herd of bighorn sheep, not all drones and drone operators as this immature in their use and operation.
Case in point, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Nigel Butcher founded the organization’s Centre of Conservation Service and has been taking left over bits and pieces of drone technology that have trickled down from Military use to protect and monitor wildlife.
As a result, the RSPB has been using drones to monitor the progress of endangered species reintroduced into new environments, as well as the nesting habits of these animals.
When asked about how a drone is better suited for this type of work over the observational eye of a human or team of researchers, Butcher responded, “In the case of a marsh harrier, we might want to use it to check on the state of a nest without traipsing in. “We don’t like to put cameras close to nests until the eggs have hatched, because the birds can be prone to deserting the nest. But with the drone you can scoot it round to confirm the state of the nest. The alternative is having eight or ten people trampling through a reed bed in knee-high waders causing a lot of disturbance.”
Adding additional equipment to the drone such as thermal imaging, radio tracking, GPS and video/audio components has given the drone the ability to do everything that a human researcher could do, faster and without potentially endangering the animals or the environment.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com