Drones and vultures – a curse or a blessing?

 

Several vulture researchers have been alerting to the impact drones may have on nesting raptors – but a recent article in a popular science blog praises them as valuable tool for vulture monitoring.

 

Tuguldur Enkhtsetseg, a conservation biologist with The Nature Conservancy’s Mongolia program, has been using them to monitor black vultures in Mongolia’s Kherlen Toono Uul Nature Reserve, a vast (+4,000 Ha) and remote spot in Mongolia´s Eastern Steppe.

 

Enkhtsetseg located 33 black vulture nests amid Kherlen Toono’s granite outcroppings, of which 7 were active, in only one week of fieldwork. Enkhtsetseg found that using drones was a very effective way of monitoring the raptor nests, as to check on foot all 33 nests would take him about a week, while with a drone he can survey them all in just two days, saving considerable time and dangerous climbs.

This year Enkhtsetseg plans to fly the drone twice: around this time, when the vultures are laying their eggs, and again in July. The two data points will allow him to estimate breeding success of the Kherlen Toono population.

See also

 

http://blog.nature.org/science/2016/03/09/can-drones-help-monitor-vultures-on-mongolias-eastern-steppe/

 

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