The droning community saves lives every day. That became especially apparent when scientist Tim Shields utilized drones to give tortoises living in the Mojave Desert a fighting chance against the ravenous raven population.
Within the last 25 years, the Mojave raven population has increased by over 700%! If nothing is done, these numbers threaten to wipe out the desert tortoise population for good. In some areas, “there are now 15,000 ravens instead of 10” says Allison Fedrick, who is an animal keeper at The Living Desert.
Unfortunately, the number of Mojave tortoises has plummeted over 90% since 1990 with ravens being the number one cause of death. These horrific birds are capable of pecking holes into tortoises that are up to 10 years of age.
To combat this raven takeover, scientists are utilizing drones to coat raven eggs with a special oil that will prevent them from hatching. This process has been incredibly effective especially in hard-to-reach areas like a 60-foot tree or the face of a cliff.
Tim Shields has teamed up with Mercy Vaughn to coordinate this special drone project along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Within the time period of the last two months, this team has been able to prevent over 500 eggs from hatching in critical tortoise habitats.
This would not have been possible without the use of drones. Our community stands united with Tim Shields and his efforts. He has exemplified the power of tapping into the forceful power of drones to save a species from extinction.