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Drones offer non-invasive method of measuring whale health, say researchers

University of Canterbury researchers say drones could be a breakthrough solution in the long-standing conundrum of how to measure whale health.

An international team of scientists, led by the University's Associate Professor Travis Horton, have published results from a study on measuring marine mammal health through non-invasive techniques.

Using infared cameras on top of quad-copter drones, Dr Horton said they were able to measure the temperature, respiration rate and heart rate of a free-swimming great whale in Rarotonga, during the 2018 humpback whale calving season.

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