New Zealand’s endangered Maui dolphins swim just below the surface of a small stretch of ocean off the west coast of the North Island. They’re being followed overhead by drones tracking their each and every movement, as part of a new government-backed project aimed at protecting the beloved sea creatures.

The Maui Drone Project uses artificial intelligence to find and track down the elusive Maui dolphins. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday she has high hopes for the new program.

JACINDA ARDERN:

Really it’s about making sure that where we have those protections, we’ve put them in the places that Maui dolphins really need them. We’ve drawn basically geographical areas where we have restricted certain types of fishing, but this will help us understand where they are, their movements, where the extra protections are required.

The project is a one-year collaboration between the Ministry for Primary Industries, non-profit organization MAUI63, and New Zealand’s World Wildlife Fund, with the support of local fisheries. Officials say the drone technology can collect detailed data on the habitats, population, distribution, and behavior of the dolphins, along with many other marine species such as seabirds and whales. The drone will also ensure the dolphins remain undisturbed as they fly out of the water at an altitude of up to nearly 400 feet. Current estimates suggest that only 63 dolphins age one year and older remain.

Source: Press Release

UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf https://www.uasvision.com/2021/03/01/drones-protect-rare-new-zealand-dolphins/, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert. Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache. Für die Inhalte ist der UAV DACH e.V. nicht verantwortlich.