Photo by Sea Shepard
Sperm whale researchers in New Zealand are using drones to survey whales without bringing large research vessels in close. They can monitor pregnant females, count whales in pods, and they will attempt to zoom down and sample whale spouts for individual whale DNA. Waterproofing and catching a homebound drone by hand in big swells in a small chase boat remains a challenge. The Sea Shepard has been using drones to track the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean and they believe the technology has increased their surveillance capacity considerably. Animal rights activists are using drones to have a look at operations suspect of inhumane treatment of farm animals and dogs. Not to be left behind by the latest technology, “squatchers” seeking the elusive cryptid hominid ‘Bigfoot’ are using drones with infrared capabilities to search for BIG heat signatures in the woods, but they will not tell you where.