UAV’s Becoming Friend of Nature

Image result for UAVs mother natures best friend

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (U.A.V.) or “drones” often conjure up images of military style attack planes that fly for thousands of miles to destroy enemies without risking the lives of American soldiers. Although UAVs have been used for this in the past, a new use for UAVs is gaining more momentum in the past decade or so, and it is becoming natures new best friend. UAVs are now increasingly being used to monitor environmental issues and aid with conservation efforts in a variety of ways. One use for UAVs are counting and monitoring wildlife, especially in areas where species are hit hard by land changes and poachers. UAVs offer a much more cost effective way to combat the problems that lead to endangered species. “The threat of extinctions is growing worse; at present it is estimated that one-fifth of the world’s extant vertebrate species are threatened”(Hoffmann et al. 2010). This large threat to animal species can be greatly reduced all over the world by using UAVs to better preserve our environment by fighting off poachers and monitoring land and wildlife changes.

UAVs have been used to provide high resolution images from the air, to identify individual salmon for counting. These images have been used to give biologists new perspectives on how salmon are distributed throughout rivers in southern British Columbia and identify their spawning areas. UAVs have also been used to study, count and photograph black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) and elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the African savanna woodlands (Vermeulen et al. 2013). These studies helped to show that images of these large animals can be captured with RGB cameras attached to UAVs, and that the use for manned aerial vehicles in surveying these animals may soon be obsolete.

                                                      -Personal security protection from poachers

UAVs are being re-purposed from their original military style use and a major beneficiary is Mother Nature her self. The opportunities for future conservation efforts aided by UAVs are endless. It appears as though we are on the edge of a potentially enormous industry, and our abilities to better preserve nature are going to increase drastically through the utilization of this technology. UAVs have now become Mother Natures best friend.




Hoffmann, M., C. H.Taylor, A. Angulo, M. Böhm, T. M. Brooks, S. H. M. Butchart and K. E. Carpenter. 2010. The Impact of Conservation on the Status of the World’s Vertebrates. Science 330.6010 : 1503-1509.

Vermeulen C., P. Lejeune, J. Lisein, P. Sawadogo and P. Bouché. 2013. Unmanned Aerial Survey of Elephants. PLOS ONE 8.2: e54700.




  1. Corey Greenfield

    The picture you choose is perfect. It shows how scientists can effectively monitor wildlife without causing disruption. They are also able to cover large areas to provide fast information about the surrounding environment. The photo really displays the efficiency of UAV use.

  2. Antonella Cammarota


    This post on re-purposing the original military style UAV to study black and white rhinoceros and elephants is definitely the type of research that it interests me in wanting to learn more about the capabilities of UAVs. It is amazing to imagine that we have the potential to monitor wildlife species with this technology and report these findings to perhaps to make a difference in the survival rate of endangered species or habitats.


  3. Drones are a great alternate method to collect data on endangered species and stop poaching. Unlike some past conventional methods (helicopters and other large Ariel vehicles), the lightweight drones don’t pollute the air, another plus for the environment.

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