A ground-breaking scientific collaboration is harnessing technology used to study the luminosity of stars, to carry out detailed monitoring of orangutan populations in Borneo. Liverpool John Moores University, WWF and HUTAN came together to examine better ways of detecting the great apes in the Bornean forest canopy, by using drones fitted with thermal-imaging cameras.

Orangutans, like all great apes, build a sleeping nest in trees. Traditionally orangutan numbers are estimated by counting these nests from the ground. However, this method is costly and time consuming due to the large areas that need to be surveyed.

Drones can cover large areas of difficult ground quickly and monitor endangered wildlife from above. The addition of thermal-imaging…



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