The gorgeous feline species, whose numbers have grown from a frighteningly miniscule 94 up to a not-much-better 327 in the wild, often cross paths with traffic in the Andalusia area of Spain, resulting in 21 lynx deaths this past year.
The current method of attaching trackable collars to the cats (the largest species in Europe) can only go so far.
“These collars have hitherto provided valuable information on the territory and pathways used by individual felines, but the tracking was dependent on the terrain and required daily monitoring by an operator,” said Jose Fiscal, Andalusia’s regional minister for the environment, in an article for the Local.es.
Thanks to a recent agreement between the ministry and Enel Green Power España along with Microsensory, researchers are developing a special drone that can locate and track lynxes in less time and with less effort than a human field biologist.
As reported in UAVExpertNews:
Spain has made enormous efforts to boost the wild population of the Iberian lynx, the smaller cousin of the Eurasian lynx, after it was almost wiped out by the end of last century. Threats including illegal hunting, a loss of habitat and a disease that wiped out their natural prey of rabbits saw the population plummet to just 94 animals in just two small territorial pockets in Andalusia.
The lynx-tracking drones are just one more example of how drones are making the world a better place by helping to conserve and protect several animal species.
For example, Snot Bot is a copter drone that can quietly and unobtrusively fly into a whale’s spray of discharged water and mucus, easily obtaining the sample without upsetting the whales. Although the drone is only in the conceptual phase, the college team, with help from the Ocean Alliance, has tested the quadcopter in hopes of getting a permit from the FAA.
Drones also have great potential for monitoring restoration efforts in tropical forests, where UAVs can replace manual labor and reduce the costs associated with monitoring conservation projects. A research team, representing the Organization for Tropical Studies, University of Maryland, University of California-Santa Cruz and the Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development at the Missouri Botanical Garden, is using a PixHawk/ArduPilot drone solution dubbed “Ecosynth” to measure forest canopy structure in southern Costa Rica following a 7–9-year tropical forest restoration study.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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