In another example of how unmanned technology can serve animal conservation, researchers used drones equipped with thermal infrared (TIR) cameras to monitor spider monkey populations in the Los Arboles Tulum residential development, outside Tulum, Quitana Roo, Mexico.
Spider monkeys are categorized as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They live in the forest canopy, tend to split into subgroups with shifting size and distance among members, and can move among the trees very quickly. These challenges make spider monkeys difficult to count via ground observation. Successful conservation efforts depend on frequent, accurate population counts.
In their study, titled “Thermal Infrared Imaging from Drones Offers a Major Advance for Spider Monkey Surveys,” published on March 11, 2019, researchers compared ground surveys of spider monkey population with counts from drones equipped with TIR cameras. The researchers used a TeAx Fusion Zoom dual