The term drone is usually associated with unmanned planes used for military surveillance and aggressive activities. The latter is something we as conservationists, scientists, environmental managers and others would rather not be associated with. Surveillance is a term slightly associated with our own trade. We call it monitoring – but much of it is about the same thing. We want to know who is where, how many they are and what they are doing. Our purpose for monitoring the environment is to be able to understand a certain species, their interactions with other species or its immediate environment.
Quality information is necessary to make decisions to protect the environment, or to provide politicians with a basis for policy decisions. A question which has surfaced is: Will drones make conservation and management of the environment more efficient and accurate?
In this posting I will take a brief look at some of the challenges and opportunities pertaining to the use of drones in conservation.