Australian researchers say wildlife can be better monitored by drones; the scientists from University of Adelaide employed thousands of rubber ducks to prove that drones are more accurate than humans, says this report.
While drones have been used for a few years now to monitor different animals that can be seen from above, including elephants, seals and nesting birds, their role will only increase from here on, especially to track species facing extinction.
As part of the #EpicDuckChallenge, experienced wildlife spotters were pitted against spotters who counted birds from drone imagery to see which group would get closest to the actual number of fake birds.
Can #drones count better than humans? Our @jarrodchodgson devised the #EpicDuckChallenge to find out, with the result having significant implications for #wildlife monitoring: https://t.co/ZVQCVbtwZr pic.twitter.com/nYYpjcVcHa
— Uni of Adelaide (@UniofAdelaide) February 14, 2018
Ground spotters counted the birds using binoculars or telescopes while a drone was flown over the beach, taking pictures from different heights and angles.
The study revealed that people counting the birds from the drone imagery were more accurate than people on location.
The results showed that monitoring animals with drones produced better data that could be used to proactively manage wildlife.
“Accurate monitoring can detect small changes in animal numbers. That is important because if we had to wait for a big shift in those numbers to notice the decline, it might be too late to conserve a threatened species,” says lead author Jarrod Hodgson.