Drones to be used to gather images of snow leopards

Drones to be used to gather images of snow leopards

22 July 2013

Technical improvements have been introduced to the latest snow leopard research program in the mountains of Southern Siberia which has begun in the Khakassky and Sayano-Shushensky nature reserves. As part of The Wild Cats of Southern Siberia project, the Russian Geographical Society has purchased 100 state-of-the-art trail cameras (camera traps), two small UAVs (Smartfly Alone kit) and other special equipment for a total cost of 5 million roubles.


A team of developers from Moscow has arrived at the nature reserves to give classes in operating the UAVs. The models were chosen with regard to the terrain they will be operating in. The developers say they will be improved in the future to count the number of snow leopards and even accurately estimate their populations.


Miniature drones will be used to monitor wildfires, monitor compliance with nature reserve regulations and to prepare maps. The aerial vehicles are designed to transmit data from hard-to-reach areas.


The UAVs have a payload of up to 500 grammes (the weight of a camera or video camera), can climb to an altitude of 300 metres, have a range of up to 50 kilometres and are capable of changing the angle of flight depending on the wind speed and direction.