There is more to drones than just taking cool aerial videos, causing regulatory debates, and launching missiles at stuff. Drones have applications in numerous fields from agriculture to film making but one of the more interesting uses in natural research and preservation. Some researchers are even using drones to study and track endangered birds and wildlife.
Drones, robots and unmanned submarines used to be for military use only. But these days the technology is rapidly advancing and becoming more available for emergency services, farmers, film-makers or the public at large. Those of us working in wildlife research and management also recognize the potential of unmanned vehicles. Across the world today these machines are being used to monitor migrating birds, spawning salmon and orangutans, to map breeding habitats of endangered species, to track threatened caribou and polar bears in the far north, to examine nest contents of birds breeding in inaccessible locations, and to deter poachers in Africa.