CBC News reports that a team from San Diego's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Vancouver Aquarium deployed a camera-equipped hexacopter 30 meters (100 feet) over the Johnstone Strait in British Columbia.
In August alone, the researchers performed over 60 flights in the area and were able to determine the health of the Northern Resident killer whales from an aerial viewpoint – which led to their discovering whale pregnancies, malnutrition or the nearby presence of fish.
The animals were not affected by the vehicle, the report says, and the team plans to continue conducting flights.
In another area of whale research, engineering students in Massachusetts are developing a UAV – the “Snot Bot” – that can assess the stress levels of the animals through mucus output.
The full CBC News article can be found here.