Drone used to monitor rare birds

By on May 15, 2014

Marsh harrier (Credit: Subramanya CK, via Wikipedia Commons)

The U.K.’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is keeping an eye on endangered and reintroduced breeds with the help of an unmanned aerial vehicle, The Guardian reported.

The drone observes breeding habits of bitterns and marsh harriers without intrusion, and also monitors the country’s newly reintroduced crane and corncrake. Hard-to-traverse environments such as wetlands are easily navigable with the airborne drone.

Much of the technology onboard the drone is repurposed from military use, including radio tracking, thermal imaging and wide-angle cameras. The drone operates on six electric motors and is barely audible over wind and ambient sound.

Cambridge University’s Chris Sandbrook said that although drones hold potential for a variety of conservation applications, public wariness and unclear ethics surrounding the technology could harm support for conservation projects that use it.

Image: Marsh harrier (Credit: Subramanya CK, via Wikipedia Commons)

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