Drones catching bear in snow,

How Drones Are Used to Track Wildlife?

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Advanced UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) help preserve and protect wildlife. They have thermal cameras that track wildlife’s movement, health, and population.

Drones are more efficient, cheaper, and safer. Also, they create minimal disturbance to wildlife while offering high-resolution imagery and accurate data. 

Other roles of drone technology in wildlife include the following:

  • Conducting wildlife surveys 
  • Planting trees to create a conducive wildlife environment
  • Mapping vegetation after wildlife fires and floods
  • Combatting wildlife crime
  • Investigating the highly targeted locations by poachers
  • Determining the impacts of climate change

This article comprehensively looks at how drones track wildlife and other drone roles. We shall also look at the impacts of drones on wildlife. So, you better read to the end. 

Let’s dive in. 

Aerial Shots of Elephants in the jungle

How Drones Are Used to Track Wildlife?

Conservationists easily get vital and valuable data by using drones to track wildlife movement hotspots, movement patterns, habitat mapping, and population.  

Advanced drones with thermal imaging and infrared cameras benefit ecologists and the government by providing real-time data for prompt action. Accurately studying animal migration, behavior, and population is now easier than ever.

Consequently, it becomes easy to protect and conserve the wildlife. Keep reading as we discuss further how drones are used to track wildlife. 

Conducting Wildlife Surveys:

Drones make wildlife surveys fast and efficient because they cover a vast area. Besides, they have high speeds, surpassing human ability to cover wide areas quickly. They’re more accurate in collecting vital biological data and provide comprehensive habitat assessments. 

Scientists can now focus on more demanding assignments, such as formulating conservative wildlife strategies and analyzing wildlife data. 

Planting Trees to Create a Conducive Wildlife Environment:

Tree (re)planting can be a tiring and expensive exercise, especially on large acres of land. It’s estimated that a normal, healthy person can plant at least 1000 or more trees daily.

Drones featuring seed dispensers plant 50,000 to 100,000 trees daily.

So, it’s easy to (re)plant trees in areas affected by deforestation or wildfires in less than a week, depending on the size of the affected areas. 

Flash Forest, a company owned by Bryce Jones, successfully uses drones to plant trees. 

Planting trees via drone.

Image Credit

Mapping Vegetation After Wildlife Fires and Floods:

Drones are essential and effective in mapping to ascertain the necessary actions during vegetation restoration after a natural calamity disaster, such as floods and wildfires. 

Compared to traditional satellite imagery, UAVs have high-resolution imagery and a high spatial resolution, making them the best for mapping vegetation. 

Role of Drone Technology in Wildlife Protection:

Drone technology has a high impact on wildlife protection. For example, floods, wildfires, and drought endanger wildlife.

UAVs equipped with thermal cameras offer real-time data that is essential in assessing the condition of wildlife and rapidly saving them from such scenarios.

After a disaster, drones can monitor the progress of wildlife for appropriate actions to enhance their safety and well-being.   

Also, drones with medical supplies may help save injured animals, reducing annual wildlife deaths.  

Combatting Wildlife Crimes:

Poaching and other unlawful human activity against wildlife have increased. Since drones have surveillance technology, they can deter and detect high-risk activities against wildlife.

As a result, they can effectively combat these activities to save wildlife, especially elephants, pangolins, rhinos, and gorillas, which are a high target by poachers. 

It’s, therefore, easy to combat wildlife crimes by tracking and arresting poachers. 

Drone flying over Lions in Jungle.

Drones Prove Effective in the Fight against Wildlife Poaching.

Investigating the Highly Targeted Locations by Poachers:

Drones with cameras help track highly targeted areas by poachers. 

After determining the highly accessible or targeted areas, the government, through the wildlife authorities, can deploy rangers to track down and arrest the criminals.

Determining the Impacts of Climate Change:

Harsh weather highly endangers some species. Hence, scientists use drones to study climate change, determine which species are highly vulnerable, and how varying species are affected by the changes.  

They can also use drones to study migration rates due to weather changes of varying species. This helps them know which animals are highly vulnerable and what the best conservation action is.

Impacts of Drones on Wildlife:

Drones have negative and positive impacts on wildlife; for example, they could injure animals and disturb those sleeping or resting. However, they also save humanity. Let’s discuss more below. 

Wildlife Injuries:

Though drones are essential in saving and protecting wildlife, they can also be dangerous. The propellers have sharp blades that can injure or kill unsuspecting wild animals. 

So, only trained and experienced drone pilots should use drones around wildlife to avoid such scenarios. Also, drone propeller guards could minimize injuries in case the worst happens. 

Wildlife Disturbance:

Based on the model you’re using, some drones can be noisy and cause disturbances. A noisy environment could cause stress or panic to the wild animals. 

Minimize wildlife disturbance and create a conducive environment by using less noisy drones. 

Where possible, maintain a reasonable distance between the animals and the drone to make it nearly impossible for them to notice the drone flying above them.

Saves Human Life:

The use of drones to monitor wildlife can save human lives. Even the most friendly animals can become dangerous and kill ranges and other persons. 

We’ve heard of many cases where wild animals entered human-populated areas and damaged crops or killed people. 

Drone surveillance can track stray animals and reduce conflicts between wildlife and humans, thereby saving lives. 

Parting Shot:

Drones help conduct wildlife surveys, plant trees to create a conducive environment, map vegetation after wildlife fires and floods, combat crimes, investigate highly targeted locations by poachers, and determine the impacts of climate change. 

Therefore, they have become highly impactful in wildlife conservation. Besides, they’re fast, efficient, intelligent, and hence reliable.

Even so, drones are dangerous. Anyone using them around wildlife habitation must be an expert and ensure that no animal is hurt or killed in case the drone crashes. Propeller guards are equally important as they minimize the chances of injury.


Article Name
How Drones Are Used to Track Wildlife?
In this article, we talk about the role of drone technology in tracking wildlife.
Publisher Name
Remoteflyer Private Limited.
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