Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

France's Plan to Tackle Racism

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Marine Le Pen and Thomas Piketty in Time magazine's power list; EU takes on Google; Gunter Grass dies (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Deadly Crossing: Migrants desperate to reach Europe; Abadi in Washington (part 1)

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Xenophobic attacks in South Africa: anti-violence marches and anti immigration protest

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French PM outlines action plan against racism, anti-Semitism

Read more

REPORTERS

Turkey’s hidden Armenians search for stolen identity

Read more

REVISITED

Families of slain Marikana miners still demanding justice

Read more

#TECH 24

Europe vs. Google: EU accuses search giant of market dominance abuse

Read more

#THE 51%

Women in America: Land of the free, home to the less-paid

Read more

Europe

Germany deploys drones… to protect young deer

© Photo: AFP (file)

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-26

A German wildlife conservation project is deploying small aerial drones to find and protect young deer hiding in tall grass from being shredded by combine harvesters cutting hay this spring.

The pilot project has shown great promise in spotting the young animals, about 100,000 of which fall victim in Germany every year to the large agricultural machines, said project spokesman Rolf Stockum on Friday.

In a pilot phase, five small drones -- fitted with combined digital and infrared sensors that can detect colour patterns and body heat -- have been trialed in the southern state of Bavaria to find the animals.

When spotted, the young deer are fitted with beacons that emit radio signals, so that farmers, when they later do the spring mowing, can find and avoid them as they noisily rumble across the grasslands and fields.

Germany's agriculture ministry -- which is backing the project with 2.5 million euros -- this month alerted farmers to the threat as mild April weather is ringing in the grass-mowing season in much of Germany.

Stockum said "the problem is that deer often hide their fawn in tall fields near the edges of forests" to protect them from natural predators.

"Evolution has created a very effective way to protect the fawns, which do not yet have a sense of smell -- they instinctively stay exactly where they are placed," he said.

This makes it very hard for farmers or even experienced wildlife trackers to spot the animals, leading to horrible accidents, said Stockum.

Traumatic for farmers

"Unfortunately, there are many years in which the time when meadows are cut in spring coincides with the time when deer drop their offspring ... and then many animals lose their lives."

Stockum said this is also traumatic for the farmers and machine operators involved and, furthermore, pollutes the cut grass, which is used as livestock feed, with shredded deer remains.

Farmers have in the past made visual inspections of grass areas or used trained dogs, and more recently many have employed hand-held infrared devices, to find the deer, said the spokesman.

However, Stockum said, using drones in coordinated campaigns, with crowds of volunteers, in the weeks before hay-cutting would cover far larger areas with greater accuracy and therefore save many more fawns' lives.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

 

Date created : 2014-04-26

COMMENT(S)