Drones to be Used to Help Preserve Europe's Last Big Cat

© WWF / WWF-Spain / Jesus Cobo

© WWF / WWF-Spain / Jesus Cobo

Let's be honest, Europe isn't really known for its wildlife. And whilst this is probably fair enough, it just so happens that Spain is home to the rarest big cat of them all: the Iberian Lynx. It's thought that there are only a few hundred left in the wild, and in an effort to keep track of their numbers and whereabouts the latest tech is being brought into play... 

A consortium of technology companies have come to an agreement with the Andalucian regional government, and work is under way to develop an autonomous aerial tracking system to follow the lynxes across their vast territories.

Tech companies Enel Green Power and Microsensory will attempt to develop drone prototypes which can follow the signals emitted from lynxes' radio collars, so that conservationists can better understand the big cats' behaviour. 

This is an early step for drones in the world of conservation, but there's little doubt that small, efficient and autonomous aircraft have a lot of potential moving forwards. Apart from being a whole lot cheaper and simpler to run than a helicopter, drones are better suited to specialist projects such as that of the Iberian Lynx, where a more subtle approach to wildlife monitoring is required. 

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, and the first of many industries to embrace the power and potential of drone technology in 2016...