In 2014 Shadowview provided aerial video and imagery support to National Geographic for their documentary Orangutan Rescue: Back to the wild: http://www.natgeotv.com/uk/orangutan-rescue-back-to-the-wild.
Today we can now announce a partnership between International Animal Rescue and Shadowview to provide long term aerial tracking of Orangutans to protect and monitor them post rehabilitation release.
Earlier this year Dirk Gorissen, a long time supporter of Shadowview, completed a successful trial of the proposed technology: https://dirkgorissen.com/2016/04/19/wheres-susi-airborne-orangutan-tracking-with-python-and-react-js/
The objective was to aerially monitor the tracking chips which IAR vets subcutaneously insert in the neck of Orangutans, when they are first released back into the wild.
The established method of tracking orangutans is extremely labour intensive, with trackers needing to locate the animals on foot using a hand held aerial and receiver. GPS devices often fail to work effectively as a result of the dense canopy cover, because they are either too large to fit subcutaneously, or have batteries that are too small to have sufficient battery life to be effective long term. A new method was needed if more animals are to be tracked over larger areas, cost effectively.
After a great deal of testing Dirk built a system that worked in the field, so the principal has been proven, and now Shadowview will develop a fully operational UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) to cover a larger area and locate more Orangutans.
Aerial tracking by drones is never going to replace the need for rangers and volunteers on the ground, but the technology will allow them to work more effectively and protect more of these critically endangered animals.
Here is International Animal Rescue’s report of Dirk’s work: https://www.internationalanimalrescue.org/news/taking-sky-track-released-orangutans