Monitoring Endangered Ferret Habitat

Researchers at Idaho State University are using UAS to monitor the black-footed ferret, one of the most endangered species in North America. Black-footed ferrets only prey near prairie dog colonies, so researchers use UAS aerial images to count prairie dog burrows in an efficient and non-invasive way. The data are then used to estimate black-footed ferret populations, which is otherwise very difficult since the animals are nocturnal and not easily counted. The results will be used to inform conservation of populations and habitat. 

The project is spearheaded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in conjunction with ISU, the Fort Belknap Fish and Wildlife Department, the tech company Topcon, and data management company Behron LLC.

Investigators
Kristy Bly, World Wildlife Fund
Donna Delparte, ISU
By USFWS Mountain Prairie - Black-footed Ferret. Uploaded by Mariomassone, CC BY 2.0