Studying sea turtles with drones

This video from Costa Rica says about itself:

Drone Video of Leatherback Sea Turtle Returning to Sea After Nesting

21 March 2017

Playa Grande, the largest of the beaches in Las Baulas National Park, is not only well known for surf breaks and stunning sunsets but also for visits from nesting turtles like this leatherback sea turtle.

Playa Grande, Playa Ventanas and Playa Langosta, are all part of Las Baulas National Park (Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas). The Park protects one of the most important nesting beaches for the East Pacific leatherback turtle, a population designated as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Park Rangers, local guides, members of local communities, researchers and volunteers are working hard to save these turtles from extinction, as well as to protect the local wildlife and flora.

From the University of Exeter in England:

Stunning footage shows how drones can boost turtle conservation

February 28, 2018

Drones are changing the face of turtle research and conservation, a new study shows.

By providing new ways to track turtles over large areas and in hard-to-reach locations, the drones have quickly become a key resource for scientists.

The research, led by the University of Exeter, also says stunning drone footage can boost public interest and involvement in turtle conservation.

“Drones are increasingly being used to gather data in greater detail and across wider areas than ever before”, said Dr Alan Rees, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

“Satellite systems and aircraft transformed turtle conservation, but drones offer cheaper and often better ways to gather information.

“We are learning more about their behaviour and movements at sea, and drones also give us new avenues for anti-poaching efforts.”

The paper warns that, despite the benefits, drones cannot fully replace ground work and surveys.

And it says more research is required to understand if and how turtles perceive drones during flight, and whether this has an impact on them.

New research demonstrates that consumer-grade drones are effective tools for monitoring marine species across multiple sites in the wild. The work shows that the technology can be a valuable platform for scientists and conservationists interested in studying populations of sharks, rays, sea turtles and other marine megafauna: here.

That is a lot better use of drones than using them for killing civilians.

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