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Drones being used in Cameroon to track rare giraffe is just the beginning

This article originally featured in The Skylark’s newsletter and was written as a condensed news in brief.

A team in Cameroon has been trialling the use of drones to monitor the populations of critically endangered Kordofan giraffe across the Benoue National Park. The park is particularly difficult to navigate on foot with large areas also inaccessible to vehicles. In order to protect the giraffe, the population must be accurately measured and monitored – not easy in a heavily wooded region the size of greater London. Only twenty to thirty of this species are thought to exist in the region. The drones are equipped with top of the range sensors and utilise specialist deployment techniques that could provide near constant coverage. It is hoped that the best conservation practices can be adopted by understanding the giraffe better. However, there is also work taking place to develop machine learning systems that could automate the drone operations as well as better utilise the vast amounts of data collected. Such a system could be applicable to a range of large mammals, transforming hundreds of conservation projects around the globe.

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