Vancouver Aquarium uses hexacopter drone to monitor whale pods

Vancouver Aquarium killer whale experts have teamed up with American researchers to monitor and record images of Northern Resident killer whales using a drone.

Hovering 30 metres above pods of orcas, the drone’s camera allowed scientists to see the whales from a much different perspective than from a nearby vessel. Some whales were clearly pregnant, a condition not always visible by boat.

“This will help us understand how often they lose calves in the first few months of life. It’s something we’ve always wanted to know. We know a lot about the calving rate, but we don’t know how often stillborn or neonate or early childhood births occur,” said Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, the Aquarium’s senior marine mammal scientist.

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