New Zealand uses drones to protect endangered wildlife
New Zealand's government said on Friday it would support a new project to use drone technology to understand and protect the country's endangered wildlife, the Maui dolphin, Reuters reported on the 26th.
Maui's dolphins live only in a small patch of water off the west coast of New Zealand's North Island, and with an estimated 63 individuals over a year old remaining, there are fears they may soon be endangered.
The new Maui Drone Project is a year-long partnership between the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), non-profit wildlife technology organization MAUI63, and WWF-New Zealand.
The drone program is able to find and track Maui's dolphins using artificial intelligence. The technology could potentially yield detailed data on dolphin habitat, population size, distribution and behavior, as well as data on many other marine species such as other dolphins, seabirds and whales, officials said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said after announcing the initiative: "Unfortunately, there has been a debate over the years about how best to protect Maui's dolphins." The project provides funding and helps protect dolphins. "But we need everyone to unite
stand up. "
New Zealand fishing companies Moana New Zealand and Sanford Limited are also supporting the project. The government has begun restricting fishing in areas of Maui that are frequented by dolphins.
The drones fly at an altitude of 120 meters to ensure that the dolphins are not disturbed.