Wildlife Ranching Magazine

DRONE FUTURE

Debbie Jewitt is a conservation scientist and works for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the provincial conservation authority for KwaZulu-Natal. She holds a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand. Through her research, Dr Jewitt seeks to understand global threats, such as land cover change and climate change, and their impacts on biodiversity and seeks solutions to these threats. Dr Jewitt is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group, an Associate Editor for the African Journal of Range and Forage Science, President of the Grassland Society of the Grassland Society of Southern Africa and a visiting researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences. She is a Climate Reality Leader with the Climate Reality Foundation, and a qualified GIS trainer. She recently earned her remote pilot’s licence to fly drones and is investigating the use of drones for conservation purposes. For more information, contact Dr Debbie Jewitt, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife: debbie.jewitt@kznwildlife.com

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are rapidly changing the face of the conservation industry. They have the potential to revolutionise conservation and spatial ecology. At the core of conservation is the monitoring of species populations and their habitats.

Traditional approaches to collecting species populations and habitats data may be resource intensive, potentially inaccurate, difficult to validate [1] and may pose a significant threat to human safety due to the presence of dangerous animals or environments. In fact, the leading cause of wildlife workers’ deaths

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