New OC Sponsored Project Takes Flight

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Dr. Serge Wich

Serge with Professor Lian Pin Koh (holding drone) prepare their flying research unit for its next mission.

Orangutan in its Nest

This photo shows the drone's ability to capture up-close forest imagery, which can be used to obtain more accurate orangutan population counts.  This is just one of many benefits of low-cost drone technology. 

It's a bird, it's a plane...actually it's a drone

   OC Supported
   Drone Project

As this month's E-Bulletin goes to press, we are pleased to announce new funding for Dr. Serge Wich and his innovative aerial drone project in Sumatra.  Thanks to rapidly evolving technology that has become more affordable, this new eye-in-the-sky research endeavor promises to benefit the orangutan conservation movement in numerous ways, by garnering more accurate population counts, mapping deforestation, quick detection and reporting of wild fires, and through future applications that seem limitless in their scope.

The first round of this aerial research project proved very exciting, and with your generous support the Orangutan Conservancy - along with the Denver Zoo and the National Geographic Society - will help to ensure that Dr. Wich and project co-founder Professor Lian Pin Koh  will continue to keep their camera-fitted, GPS-guided drones aloft. 

“The initial tests in Indonesia are extremely promising," says Dr. Wich, "but we need to continue to develop the system so that we can assure it will be able to detect orangutan nests. To do this more funding is needed and we are very grateful that the Orangutan Conservancy is providing us with funding for the crucial next test round that we will conduct in Indonesia in May. The aim of those tests is to get clear confirmation that the system can detect orangutan nests.”

You can read more about the project on our website right now, and we will have more updates coming soon followed by an original "From the Forest" essay from Dr. Wich this summer. 

Dr. Serge Wich is with PanEco and the Anthropological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich

Professor Lian Pin Koh is with ETH, Zurich


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