If you’ve been apart of the Global Conservation Force community since 2015, you’ll remember our long journey, almost three years, to get a drone funded, designed, built, and used for the study and protection efforts of wild snow leopards. After many roadblocks with custom platforms, we purchased a DJI Matrice 210 in the 2018, and FLIR granted our project partners, Snow Leopard Conservancy, the use of a camera, FLIR Zenmuse XT2, for the trial flights in Colorado.
After several flight tests were completed in Colorado by Don Hunter, of the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy, the Snow Leopard Conservancy purchased an XT2 drone camera for the project.
At the end of 2019 into early 2020, our partners at the Snow Leopard Conservancy and Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy successfully flew the drone in Mongolia. Using the drone to identify the prey species distribution in Snow Leopard habitat. And, they documented the entire adventure! Please take a moment to watch this incredible mini documentary following the virgin field study voyage of our snow leopard drone.
Special thanks to Dr Rodney Jackson and Don Hunter for all of their hard work to keep this project going in the field. It was no easy task to get the permits and parts for the drone to operate in Mongolia.
Special thanks to Ben Hunter who filmed and edited the mini documentary.
Ghosts of the Gobi
“Counting rare and elusive snow leopards can be extremely difficult. However, drones may be a useful and innovative technique to count prey species using thermal imaging from air rather than by land. This provides valuable information, implying how many snow leopards may be supported in this region by its prey base.”