How Technology Can Help Rescue Animals from Disaster Areas

Rescued dog

When natural disasters happen, animals are very often left alone to defend themselves against the fury of nature, once it has passed. However, today, a videographer has changed this by traveling to devastation sites, to help find animals that are still alive and they can save. His technique: He uses drone to locate them.

The Work of an Environmentalist Advocate

Douglas Thron, a videographer from California, has been helping wildlife around the world in zones where natural disaster has just happened. Whether it was caused by a fire, a tornado, a hurricane or even a tsunami, Douglas gets on a plane and goes to the devastated area. With the help of his drone, he then goes above the area to locate animals still alive that could be caught under the rubbles or trapped somewhere they cannot get out. Once he finds one or more, wildlife rescuers move in to free them or bring them back to safety to be treated, if they are wounded.

Thron has been involved in various actions to help the environment since the 1990s. He took a special interest in saving the ancient redwood forests of California, flying over them in Cesna planes, and shooting videos with his camera. Today he says that the capacity for drones to help and save animal lives is just too great not to be involved. He also insists that although it works in cases of disasters for wild animals, it can also apply to the search of domestic ones.

How Did It All Start?

In 2019, a Category Five hurricane hit the Bahamas and left devastated islands behind. Thron, who was used to filming disaster areas for documentary purposes, decided to volunteer with a group called Sea Shepherd to bring relief to the zone. He brought drones with him, and when he got there, flew them over the devastation. His goal was to document the damage that was caused by Hurricane Dorian. However, as he was flying them, he noticed a great number of stranded dogs, lost in the rubbles.

That is when he took the decision to try and save as many animals as he could. Once he pinpointed the location of a dog, he would inform rescuers who would then go and pick him up. Since it is easy not to recognize a dog at the distance the drone is flying from the ground, he wondered how he could do a better job at finding them. He decided to add infrared cameras to the drone, which would recognize the heat of animals and make it easier to identify those needing help.


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