How the Wildlife Conservation Society Chile is using a M30T to protect Tierra del Fuego's unique biodiversity

Overcoming extreme weather conditions with the M30T drone

By DJI Enterprise DJI Enterprise
April 24, 2023

Tierra del Fuego, located at the southern end of Patagonia, is a unique and biodiverse region. It is home to a variety of plant and animal species that have adapted to the harsh sub-Antarctic climate. 

Karukinka Park, a private conservation area of 300,000 hectares located in Tierra del Fuego, is critical from an environmental standpoint - this region’s sub-Antarctic forests and peatlands are essential ecosystems capable of absorbing large amounts of atmospheric carbon, making it an important ally in the fight against global warming. These lands are also home to many endemic and threatened species, including the endangered Magellanic woodpecker, a bird that is only found in this part of the world.

Wildlife Conservation Society Chile

Caretakers of these lands, the Wildlife Conservation Society Chile (WCSC) has been at the forefront of conservation efforts in these lands for more than 17 years, working to protect key species and ecosystems in the country. 

World Conservation Society Chile - WCSC TeamThe WCSR team

However, Conservation efforts in Tierra del Fuego are challenging due to the region's extreme weather conditions, which include heavy rain, high winds, and snow. 

In order to enhance their environmental monitoring efforts in the southern part of Chile, Tierra del Fuego, WCSC recently purchased a M30T drone. The region’s extreme weather was a major factor in their choice to go with a M30T because they needed a drone that could withstand the elements. The M30T’s IP55 rating and resilience to freezing temperatures, not to mention its 640x512 thermal sensor made it a logical choice. 

World Conservation Society Chile - M30T

M30T and the elements

The use of drones has been instrumental in scaling and elevating of WCSC’s conservation efforts in the region. The M30T has enabled the WCSC team to directly monitor species such as guanacos, foxes, elephant seals, and black-browed albatrosses. The drone has also been used to protect the park and its surrounding areas from threats such as fire and invasive species, as well as document environmental changes and invasive species. 

World Conservation Society Chile - WCSC Team with Drone

Here are some of the ways that the WCSC team deploys their drone for conservation work: 

  • Species monitoring: Monitoring of species in sectors of difficult access, such as southern elephant seals, and later photographic analyses of colonies through orthoimages.  
  • Exploration: Searching for populations of leopard seals in fjords where ice prevents access via boat. 
  • Population counts: Research and analysis of data with the populations of guanacos in Magallanes. This is done with the M30T’s infrared sensor to try to determine the densities of guanacos in forest areas, something not very explored so far. 
  • Beaver eradication: Conduct aerial surveys of affected areas, monitor the success of control actions, and evaluate ecosystem restoration progress. 
  • Ecosystem analysis: Evaluate the integrity and functionality of ecosystems such as the Magellanic steppe, Nothofagus forest, and peat bogs (among others). 
  • Threat detection: Monitoring of direct threats to the park, such as forest fires, illegal logging, and unauthorized entry into critical areas. 

World Conservation Society Chile - Aerial View

Drones for conservation

Conservationists around the world are turning to drones to help elevate their work. 

Drones are capable of capturing high-resolution images and videos, providing valuable insights into species behavior and ecosystem dynamics. They can cover large areas in a short amount of time, making them highly efficient in data collection. Moreover, they enable researchers to access areas that are difficult to reach, such as cliffs or remote islands, which are often home to rare and endangered species.

The Wildlife Conservation Society Chile is making great strides in environmental conservation efforts, especially in the southern part of Chile. The use of drones in conservation efforts has opened up new opportunities for researchers and conservationists, and it's likely that their use will continue to increase in the coming years. The WCSC has set a great example, and we hope that other conservation organizations will follow suit in the use of drones in their conservation efforts.

World Conservation Society Chile - Two GuanacosTwo guanacos

World Conservation Society Chile - Two Black-browed AlbatrossesTwo black-billed albatrosses

World Conservation Society Chile - Elephant SealAn elephant seal

World Conservation Society Chile - Leopard SealsTwo leopard seals

All photos for this article were provided by DroneStore Chile, DJI Enterprise Authorized Dealer. 

Share on Social Media:

Tags: #DronesHelp

Wildlife Conservation Drones Desktop CTA

To stay in touch and receive ebooks, resources, and product updates, subscribe to our newsletter.

DJI Enterprise
About the Author DJI Enterprise

Related articles

Recent Posts

AEC & Surveying

AlUla: Preserving Saudi Arabia’s Majestic Cultural Heritage with Drones

Situated in northwest Saudi Arabia, AlUla is an iconic and inspiring region that encapsulates 200,000 years of human history. Often described as the “world’s largest living museum,” the UNESCO World...
Read More

Pilot Profile: Using Modern UAVs in Extreme Volcanic Environments for Atmospheric Research

Since the dawn of time, volcanoes have been key vectors of creation on earth, but also the source of considerable devastation – at times even complete extinction. In his work studying those...
Read More

Construction | AEC & Surveying

Deutsche Bahn Using Drones for its Massive Riedbahn Railway Construction Project

The Riedbahn rail link between Frankfurt/Main and Mannheim is one of Deutsche Bahn’s (DB) busiest lines, and in need of vast repairs.
Read More

Energy | Electricity | Inspection

How Drones are Transforming Solar PV Installation in Germany

Renewable energy adoption is on the rise across Europe. Photovoltaic capacity alone increased by 47% in 2022. The German government is leading the way with an ambitious target for renewable sources...
Read More