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A preliminary assessment of using conservation drones for Sumatran orang-utan (Pongo abelii) distribution and density

Wich, SA and Dellatore, D and Houghton, M and Ardi, R and Koh, LP (2015) A preliminary assessment of using conservation drones for Sumatran orang-utan (Pongo abelii) distribution and density. Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems. ISSN 2291-3467

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Wich et al JUVS revision submitted 05102015[1].pdf - Accepted Version

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Abstract

To conserve biodiversity scientists monitor wildlife populations and their habitats. Current methods have constraints such as the costs of ground or aerial surveys, limited resolution of freely-available satellite images, and expensive high resolution satellite images. Recently researchers started to use unmanned aerial vehicles (aka UAVs or drones) for wildlife and habitat monitoring. Here we tested whether we could detect nests of the critically endangered Sumatran orang-utan on imagery acquired from camera mounted drone to determine distribution and density. Our results show that the distribution of nests compares well between aerial and ground based surveys and that relative density (nest/km) shows a significant correlation between these two survey types. The results also indicate that both methods can be used to detect significant differences in relative density between previously degraded reforested and enriched areas. We conclude that orang-utan nest surveys from drones are a promising survey method to determine distribution and (relative) density of this and perhaps other ape species.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: NRC Research Press
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2015 10:54
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2017 21:51
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2212

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