Bryson Voirin, a long-standing TREE Foundation research associate who has devoted much of his research career to sloth ecology, has written this article about how drones are being used for research and conservation efforts around the world.
From the San Franciso Chronicle:
Ask the average passerby what he or she thinks of drones, and more than likely the view will be negative. The term itself has a bad connotation, conjuring up images of creepy stalkers spying through our bedroom window or targeted aerial assassinations abroad. With the rapid advance of robotic flight technology, unmanned aerial vehicles have become highly sophisticated, simple to fly, cheap and available anywhere from Amazon Prime to the Apple Store.
Governments around the world have been blindsided by their surging popularity and are scrambling to legislate and control these potentially hazardous devices. However, contrary to public perception, unmanned aerial vehicles present an enormous potential for good, and a growing network of users is employing them for research and conservation efforts around the world, ranging from monitoring habitat destruction and catching poachers to detecting the next disease epidemic.