Russian drone training to better protect animals

Quadcopter drone purchased by IFAW to protect released Amur tigers.Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) allow law enforcement and first responders to get a bird’s-eye view of things happening on the ground. UAVs can help detect forest fires, monitor wildlife and vegetation and even locate poachers.

The first workshop in Russia devoted to these uses of drones was held last week in the Land of the Leopard National Park in Primorsky Province, crucial Amur tiger habitat.

More than 20 specialists from various national parks and nature reserves from the southern Russian Far East gathered to participate in the training session organized by the Phoenix Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society with support of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The workshop let national environmental protectors deepen their knowledge and get familiar with new unmanned technologies and improve their UAV operating skills.

More than 20 specialists from various national parks and nature reserves were able to get familiar with new unmanned technologies and improve their UAV operating skills.

In addition to honing their skills, participants were able to experience the “unique nature of the Southwest Primorye and the Land of the Leopard National Park,” Zilya Ibatulina, Director of the park’s environment, education and tourism department said.

Over a number of years, the Phoenix Fund has been assisting national parks and nature reserves with both conservation and keeping technologically up to date.

Beluga whales near Solovky Island, Russia. An example of wildlife footage and monitoring that is possible with a drone.

READ: Annual study of beluga whales in Russia’s White Sea successfully concludes

At the workshop, UAV experts shared their experiences with participants, who also learned about Russia’s new drone laws and rules of drone registration, problems faced by UAV operators, flight safety and various flight programs.

The organizers also gave practical training, conducting a series of flights by various types of UAVs. Moreover, three DJI quadcopter drones purchased by IFAW were donated for use in Bikin, Anyuisky and Land of the Leopard national parks.

“Progress advances at a great rate,” Director of the Phoenix Fund Sergei Bereznuk said. “Today, new technologies give us unique opportunities. For this reason we decided to gather representatives of protected areas, help them introduce UAVs in their work in order to perform law enforcement, scientific efforts and educational and outreach activities more efficiently.”

--MV

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