Thermal Drones: A Beacon of Hope for Turtles

In Thailand, an extraordinary effort is underway to save the endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle from extinction. Teams are deploying the high-tech DJI Mavic 3T drone, equipped with thermal cameras, to spot turtle nesting sites from the sky. This tech-forward initiative is the work of Thailand's Department of Marine & Coastal Resources.

Leatherback turtles nest along the coast, often undetected by scientists. Unseen, they lay their eggs and return to the sea, leaving their eggs vulnerable. To address this, experts, like Dr. Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, director of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, are reportedly turning to drones.

He explains, “the need to identify and protect the remaining nesting sites” and emphasizes that drones are a more efficient method than traditional on-foot searches.

Thermal Drones: A Beacon Of Hope For Turtles

These thermal drones have significantly advanced conservation efforts. As depicted in a video by DJI, the technology, combined with local cooperation, is aiding the survival of Leatherback Sea Turtles. This particular species, distinguished by its unique rubbery skin instead of a hard shell, is currently down to an estimated 2,300 adult females.

Thermal Drones: A Beacon Of Hope For Turtles

The Mavic 3T drone isn't the department's first; they've been deploying drones for the past five years. The newer drone, however, offers better portability and enhanced resolution, enabling it to spot baby turtles from 100ft high. Its thermal resolution of 640 x 512 uses bright color palettes, making it easier to identify targets. The drone also boasts a 48MP 24mm EFL optical camera and a 12MP 162mm EFL camera, providing a hybrid zoom of up to 56x. The display features a handy side-by-side function.

Thermal Drones: A Beacon Of Hope For Turtles

This application of the Mavic 3 Enterprise series is a vivid demonstration of its versatility. From simulating search-and-rescue operations to aiding in conservation, this innovative technology is revolutionizing efficiency across diverse areas. The race to save the Leatherback Sea Turtle is far from over, but thanks to advancements like these, hope is on the horizon.

Thermal Drones: A Beacon Of Hope For Turtles

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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