Drones Help NOAA Track Hawaiian Whale Population
” Usage of drones in wildlife research is increasing. Lately, it has been found that the technology is being used by NOAA researchers in the Hawaiian Island so they could count the whale calves without disturbing them.
For the first time this summer, ecologists have used drones to come up with proper lists of the whale and dolphin pods near Hawaii. The drones’ inclusion with the NOAA’s recent whale-expedition is another function of what drones can do. Already, drones presence is on rise in police work, real estate, or even firefighting.
Iain Kerr, the chief executive officer of the whale and ocean research organization Ocean Alliance, was of the view that if it has to be understood as what effects humanity has on wildlife then there is a need to study them in a non-invasive manner.Usage of drones in this manner is considered to be a non-invasive research. With the use of camera drones, Hawaii researchers said that they could come up with better wildlife photos than photographers on boats and that too by not disturbing them.
Engineers with the University of Florida’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Program said that the drones must be engineered to avoid disturbing the animals. For the study, the researchers have relied on a hexacopter drone, so that it could carry larger and higher quality cameras when compared with hobby drones.
With the use of drones, NOAA scientists were able to carry out the month-long mission around Hawaii’s outlying islands in a single, large boat only. “Never before have I seen anything like this. There is no way we would see so much detail from a boat-based survey”, said Barbara Bollard-Breen, a geospatial science professor.”