Nearly 450 newborns saved: drones save Bambi from the mowers
In Graubünden, Switzerland early this spring drones with thermal imagery cameras were used for the first time to look for fawns. The drones were operated c 1100 times and saved approximately 450 newborn fawns from being mowed to death.
Well hidden by the tall grasses in meadows and pasture, fawns stay motionless near the ground when the mower approaches. Farmers don’t have enough time to see the young deer in time. Even when chains of people walk the meadows many fawns are overlooked.
One solution is to use drones with thermal imagery cameras that look for the fawns from a bird’s eye view. This was a success in Graubünden, as announced by the Department for Hunting & Fishing last Wednesday. The project will be rolled out in 2020 to further regions. More drones will be needed.
Gamekeepers and conservationists of the various sections of the Bündner Kantonalen Patenjäger-Verbands (BKPJV) have assumed that the success in finding these fawns has increased considerably.
After the first successful trials in 2018 in Unterengadin, 19 drones were bought and 150 operators trained. The flights were coordinated out by the relevant sections of the BKPJV, gamekeepers and farmers.
Searching for the fawns using drones is a supplementary operation, not a replacement for methods already in use. Up to now farmers and hunters have searched using chains of people, noise and odorous substances to find and move the fawns.