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Sensors 2016, 16(9), 1527; doi:10.3390/s16091527

Spatial Ecology of Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) Nesting in a Fragmented Landscape

1
Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK
2
Danau Girang Field Centre, c/o Sabah Wildlife Department, Wisma Muis, 5th Floor, Block B, Kota Kinabalu 88100, Malaysia
3
Sabah Wildlife Department, Wisma Muis, 5th Floor, Block B, Kota Kinabalu 88100, Malaysia
4
Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University, 33 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3BA, UK
5
Hornbill Surveys Sdn Bhd, Lot 9, Harapan Baru Light Ind Estate, Mile 8, Jalan Labuk, Sandakan 90009, Malaysia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Felipe Gonzalez Toro and Antonios Tsourdos
Received: 28 June 2016 / Revised: 9 September 2016 / Accepted: 13 September 2016 / Published: 19 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UAV-Based Remote Sensing)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1501 KB, uploaded 19 September 2016]   |  

Abstract

The role that oil palm plays in the Lower Kinabatangan region of Eastern Sabah is of considerable scientific and conservation interest, providing a model habitat for many tropical regions as they become increasingly fragmented. Crocodilians, as apex predators, widely distributed throughout the tropics, are ideal indicator species for ecosystem health. Drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)) were used to identify crocodile nests in a fragmented landscape. Flights were targeted through the use of fuzzy overlay models and nests located primarily in areas indicated as suitable habitat. Nests displayed a number of similarities in terms of habitat characteristics allowing for refined modelling of survey locations. As well as being more cost-effective compared to traditional methods of nesting survey, the use of drones also enabled a larger survey area to be completed albeit with a limited number of flights. The study provides a methodology for targeted nest surveying, as well as a low-cost repeatable flight methodology. This approach has potential for widespread applicability across a range of species and for a variety of study designs. View Full-Text
Keywords: drone; UAV; salt water; aerial survey; Borneo; Sabah; reptile drone; UAV; salt water; aerial survey; Borneo; Sabah; reptile
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Evans, L.J.; Jones, T.H.; Pang, K.; Saimin, S.; Goossens, B. Spatial Ecology of Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) Nesting in a Fragmented Landscape. Sensors 2016, 16, 1527.

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