One of the biggest drawbacks to observing migrating wildlife in their natural environment is that we either have to physically be there (which may interfere with how they act) or use helicopters, which can get pricey. Thanks to unmanned drones, that could change.
A 5-minute video was made by Captain Dave Anderson, owner of a dolphin- and whale-watching business, off the coast of Southern California that utilizes a drone quadcopter to view dolphins and whales from above.
Though Captain Dave notes understandable suspicion about widespread drone technology because of privacy issues, he views it as an amazing resource which could revolutionize how we track wildlife, particularly across the vast oceans. The video is shot with a GoPro HERO3 Black Edition camera and was given flight thanks to a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter. All in all, the setup cost about $1700; a dramatic discount from helicopters which generally cost more than that to charter for an hour.
The video opens “mega-pod” of common dolphin that has hundreds, if not thousands, of individual members. Some pods in the area have as many as 10,000 dolphins. The video also features three migrating gray whales, and beautiful footage of a mother humpback with her small calf. It is an amazing vantage point, and you won’t want to miss it: