An Eye in the Sky: the Application of Drones in Animal Conservation.
We are very excited to announce that LAT will host its inaugural international scientific conference and workshop from June 6th to June 26th, 2018.
Our resident team of researchers: Cecilia Cahum Cahum, Anja Hutschenreiter and Dr. Denise Spaan, led by Dr. Filippo Aureli have initiated a collaboration with several leading international experts in the use of drones for wildlife conservation from Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, England.
Underwritten by a grant from the National Geographic Society obtained by Dr. Denise Spaan, this group of experts will be spending nearly three weeks in LAT (staying at Casa de las Monas) to instruct our team in the operation of drones and run a series of test flights to explore the drone capabilities as a wildlife surveying tool, in our case, specifically for spider monkeys.
The three scientists from the British team are: Dr. Serge Wich, a conservation researcher specialized in drones and primates; Dr. Owen McAree, an engineer and expert in drones who is building a custom-made design to be used for this project; and Dr. Claire Burke, an astrophysicist who focuses on thermal imaging technology.
Additionally, noted film makers Molly Ferrill and Luis David Palomino Benítez will be here for one week to film/video the research work with the intention to present the video to the National Geographic Society.
Coral Eloisa Rangel Rivera, a geographer with expertise in satellite mapping and its use in conservation, will be joining our team to be trained as a drone pilot to fly the drone. Filippo, Anja and Denise will be sitting in on the drone lessons, and Cecilia will be in charge of following the monkeys on foot.
There is also an American journalist interested in writing a piece on this specific research project of employing drones as an aid in the conservation of spider monkeys.
For LAT, this is an extraordinary opportunity for showcasing our community and our mission. This project attests to our commitment to support research and education. Moreover, our own team will benefit immensely from the tutelage by these experts, and this experience will significantly advance their scientific experience and reputation. Cecilia, an avid and talented photographer in her own rights, will be able to learn more about videography from experienced film makers, while Coral, after receiving training in LAT, will be able to add to her qualifications for admission to a top-notch doctoral program focusing on drone use.
There are also plans to write a scientific article based on the results of this workshop for publication and presentation at conferences to share ideas that will help the conservation of spider monkeys.
In addition, there are several events planned to which residents are invited. Dates and location will be announced by our Administrator.
The community of LAT is honored to host these esteemed scientists and support their important work. We look forward to welcoming them!