June 7, 2013
It's cheaper than helicopters and it doesn't scare the sheep and deer. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGC) now uses drones to track wildlife and is exploring other ways the systems can replace or supplement manned aircraft missions.
"It's a fairly quiet and kind of an earthy-friendly approach to monitoring things we need to monitor," says Mike Hutt, Director of the USGC National Unmanned Aircraft System.
In Nevada, two upcoming studies will incorporate drones, one for mule deer and one for bighorn sheep. Hutt says that not only are the drones less expensive and more friendly to the environment, they also have applications where safety is a concern.
"There are certain things that unmanned aircraft systems can do that we don't want to use a manned aircraft for," says Hutt. "They include flying in mountains, flying at night, flying in smoky conditions."
Reprinted in part from Nevada Public Radio