Increasing numbers of ecologists and conservation biologists have begun to explore the use of drone technology to obtain accurate and up-to-date data on the distribution and density of species, as well as the threats to their habitats, in their ongoing attempts to conserve and monitor biodiversity. Conservation drones are low-cost, autonomous, and operator-friendly unmanned aerial vehicles that can be used for surveying, mapping, and monitoring both habitat and biodiversity. They are fast becoming a valuable complement to ground-based surveys and satellite imagery for a wide range of ecological and conservation applications. The authors pioneered the use of conservation drones for the purpose of monitoring orangutan populations in Southeast Asia. They subsequently founded ConservationDrones.org to share their knowledge of building and using drones with colleagues in the wider environmental community. Their website has proved highly popular and Conservation Drones aims to further build capacity to use drones and inspire others to adapt emerging technologies for practical conservation.
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