Questions for ‘These flying robots protect endangered wildlife’

a photo of a blue drone hovering in the air. The drone has a sticker that reads "SnotBot" seen over the shoulder of a man partially in the left most edge of the image.

Got whale boogers? SnotBot the drone does! Scientists fly it through plumes of whale blow to collect samples. The drone also takes photos and videos. Around the world, researchers are using drones to help study and protect animal populations.

Christian Miller, Ocean Alliance Inc.

To accompany “These flying robots protect endangered wildlife


Before Reading:

1.  There is a population of three-toed sloths living in a remote forest in Brazil that you want to study. These sloths live high in the trees, and the forest is difficult to traverse. What are two ways that you might collect data on these animals?

2.  What is a drone? Do you or a friend own one? What can that drone do? How is it controlled?

During Reading:

1.  What is SnotBot? What does it collect?

2.  What did Lian Pin Koh and Serge Wich use to create their first conservation drone?

3.  What is the Northern muriqui? Where does it live?

4.  What is Dronequi? What is special about its camera?

5. Before drones became available, why were researchers able to count birds on the Falkland Islands at most only once every five to 10 years?

6.  Why did Madeline Hayes have to draw tens of thousands of rectangles?

7.  What is the Conservation AI project?

8.  What are poachers and why did students and staff at a field site in Tanzania pretend to be poachers?

9.  Why might drone technology be difficult to use in remote locations?

After Reading:

1.  Consider again that population of three-toed slots living in a remote forest in Brazil. How else might you study those animals? Use information from the story to come up with a plan to conduct a census of the sloths.

2.   Now that you know how many sloths are in that population, you want to know more about these animals, such as how they interact with each other, what they eat — or other things about their general health. Describe how you might go about getting any or all of this information with your drones. Explain what types of information would be hardest to derive using drones and why?