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Nepali Researches Survey Gharials with Drones #drone #droneday

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From Mongabay:

The survey looked easy on paper. All they had to do was to go the Babai Valley in western Nepal and fly a drone (or unmanned aerial vehicle, UAV) along a river. But wildlife researchers Gokarna Jung Thapa, Eric Wikramanayake and Suraj Karkie soon realized that their work was fraught with elephantine challenges.

“Our mission was to fly a drone over the Babai and take photos of gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) basking on the banks of the river,” said Thapa, who along with his team visited the valley in January last year. The wild elephants did not like the idea.

“Our vehicle was chased by a herd of wild elephants,” he told Mongabay. “We had to speed uphill and request a truck-load of soldiers to rescue us that day.” Despite the rescue call, the resources Thapa and his team members used on their mission to count gharials were minimal compared to similar missions in the past.

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