The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been testing the Raven A, a small, camera-equipped drone that's about 3 feet (1 meter) long, to see if it can be used to conduct aerial counts of the endangered sandhill crane (Grus canadensis pulla). [Satellites Gallery: Science From Above]
"We flew the over the cranes when they were roosting, feeding, and loafing to see how they reacted," said Leanne Hanson, a field biologist, in a USGS report. "They sat still for us when they were roosting and loafing, but birds flushed during feeding. We will plan missions during roosting and loafing times, when their behavior is not affected."
And critically endangered Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) nest in treetops, making them difficult to study. Drones, however, can easily navigate the primates' aeries, providing valuable information that will assist in conservation activities, reports PCMag.com.
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