With all the press that rogue drones get, we like to make sure that the thousands of examples of beneficial drones get some play too. Here are three amazing stories of drones for good in the news recently: helping the environment, working on search and rescue operations, and – like every superhero – saving cute puppies.
Drones Reveal Illegal Logging in Monarch Butterfly Preserve
There are many examples of drones working to save the earth; this one is about the monarch butterfly, a colorful and beautiful species threatened by pesticides, climate change, and habitat destruction.
Millions of monarch butterflies migrate every year to Mexico, where researchers have created the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in order to protect the species and try to preserve their habitat. But recently, scientists discovered that illegal loggers had cut down about 25 acres of trees.
The trees are critical to the survival of the butterflies, as they create a buffer from winds while the butterflies migrate. With a large section of trees located on a slope missing from the area, butterflies traversing the area are subject to being swept off course.
Environmental activists had warned researchers of the logging, but Reserve personnel were unable to confirm the damage until scientists engaged with a local filmmaker, who flew a drone over the site to document the issue. Monarch researchers describe the logging as a “catastrophe,” but with documentation in hand they can now crack down on the illegal logging.
Drones in Search and Rescue
An Indiana elementary school teacher who was reported missing has been found alive, after a good samaritan offered to fly their drone over the area and successfully located the woman.
Law enforcement had been using all available resources to search the area on foot, but were hampered by tall weeds and other vegetation. A local citizen, who wished to remain anonymous, offered to use their drones to obtain an aerial view of the region; the sheriff’s office gratefully accepted the offer.
42-year old Krista Perdue had been missing for two days when she was found Tuesday evening near a retention pond close to her home. While disoriented and dehydrated, she is expected to recover. Local Indiana news outlets report that the sheriff’s office is hoping to obtain their own drone to aid in future search operations.
Drone Aids in Puppy Rescue
Finally, leading drone manufacturer DJI reports a story about the Jackson County Fire Department in Gold Hill, Oregon using their new Phantom to rescue a puppy.
A Bullmastiff puppy was exploring the neighborhood when he fell down a steep cliff to the river’s edge just before nightfall. When the Fire Department was called in to rescue the pup, they used the department’s new DJI Phantom to view the area and locate the dog.
The puppy, who weighs about 50 pounds, had caused the edge of the cliff to give way; the dog had fallen about 40 feet to the rock bank. By keeping watch on the puppy’s movements with the drone, the rescuer was able to identify his location quickly. With one rescuer traversing the bank and others at the top monitoring progress with the drones, the rescue team was able to track the progress of both puppy and rescuer until they reached safety.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.