A UniSA PhD student can now add “world first” to her CV after collaborating with global cinematographer Douglas Thron to accurately measure heart and breathing rates of African wildlife filmed with a drone.
Danyi Wang, working under the guidance of UniSA remote sensing engineer Professor Javaan Chahl, used sophisticated signal processing techniques to detect vital signs of zebra, sable antelopes, waterbucks and giraffe from drone footage.
It is believed to be the first time that this technique – pioneered by Prof Chahl and his team in 2019 – has been used to successfully extract heart and breathing rates of animals filmed from a drone at long distances.
The collaboration with Thron, one of the world’s most high-profile drone pilots, came about after the cinematographer read about Prof Chahl’s remote sensing study with Adelaide Zoo.
Thron films across the world using specialised drones with infrared cameras, zoom lenses and spotlights to rescue animals affected by natural disasters. He spent six months in Australia in 2020 after the World Wildlife Fund hired him to find vulnerable wildlife in the wake of the country’s devastating bushfires.
That experience – as well as the world-first experiment in Malawi, Africa – features in a documentary series named Doug to the Rescue, which airs in more than 30 countries worldwide on the Curiosity Stream channel.
In the Malawi documentary, which premiered in mid-June, Wang and Prof Chahl are interviewed via Zoom, discussing the challenges they faced to pick up tiny movements from the animals’ chest cavities filmed by Thron’s drone from ranges of more than 50 metres.
“We had to select the right sequences in the video where it was stable enough for us to get heart rates, but we were able to do it,” Prof Chahl says.
According to Wang, the sable antelope’s heart rate was right in the middle of the normal range and its breathing rate was at the lower end, which indicated it was very healthy and not stressed at all, even by the presence of the drone.
Likewise, the vital signs captured from a giraffe, zebra and waterbuck were all in the expected range.
“It was exciting to work with a US-based documentary team on location in Malawi, via video conferencing from Adelaide, while Australia’s borders were closed,” Wang says.
“It just shows what is possible in a research context using modern technology, even in a pandemic.”
Prof Chahl says there is significant potential to use the same technology to monitor the health of wildlife globally, particularly endangered animals, and assist conservation efforts.
“We have demonstrated that a drone can be used to film wildlife at long distances without disturbing or stressing them, and then use AI techniques to successfully extract cardiopulmonary signals to remotely monitor for signs of poor health.
“This documentary was partly an experiment. Doug and his team wanted to verify that their work was not distressing the animals they try to help. Our results confirmed that.”
Original Article: World first experiment using drones for wildlife health checks
More from: University of South Australia
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Wildlife health checks
- New Study on Co-infection in Kenyan Wildlife Enhances Understanding of Neglected Zoonotic Diseases
Researchers typically study animal diseases one at a time, but diseases often come in combinations. To better understand how diseases work in their natural environments, International Livestock ...
- Check out the Outdoors calendar for meetings and hunting season schedules
LOUISIANA OUTDOORS FOREVER TECHNICAL ADVISORY BOARD MEETING: 2 p.m., state Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge. LOUISIANA OYSTER TASK FORCE MEETING: 1 p.m., Lakefront ...
- Events: Looking for something to do? Check out these events.
Public invited to quilters meeting ...
- 2 animals test positive for rabies near Wildlife Images
Josephine County Public Health officials are advising pet owners to make sure their pets are current on their vaccines after rabies was found in two wild animals outside a local wildlife ...
- California wildlife care facilities care for baby squirrels after heat wave
The record heat wave in California last week is having an impact on wildlife care facilities. Wildlife centers in the Bay Area said they have had a flood of animals. Associated Press ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Wildlife health checks
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Wildlife heroes: Here are the African Conservation Award winners
The continent's wildlife heroes were celebrated at the prestigious African Conservation Awards at the African Rangers Congress in Botswana ...
- 'CWD is a threat': State wildlife officials to increase monitoring for disease
A road-kill deer less than three miles from the Oklahoma border in the Panhandle tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
- This Indonesian outlet campaigns for wildlife protection
Indonesia is rich in wildlife diversity; however, its native animals face the threat of extinction. For example, the Sumatran elephant is critically endangered in part from threats from poachers. In ...
- Big data monitoring tool aims to catch up to Indonesia’s booming online bird trade
Researchers in Indonesia have harnessed the power of big data to monitor the flourishing online trade in songbirds, proposing it as a critical conservation tool in the absence of any other platform to ...
- Federal, State Funding Set to Boost Construction of Wildlife Crossings
Wildlife crossings over major highways are growing in popularity as increasing evidence shows they are a cost-effective method to improve safety.