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Fieldwork in Mozambique

Drone launch at sunrise

Adwait in the field

Herd hover team member Adwait Deshpande recently finished fieldwork in Mozambique, studying wild African buffalo herds using drone-based videos. Following is a short blog about his experience.

“As a part of my postdoc fellowship, I spent 45 days in a private game reserve in Mozambique with the aim of collecting aerial videos of wild African buffaloes to investigate the collective movements of Herds. For me, the expedition was exciting at the same time, challenging.

We had a small team, Luca (field assistant) and I. Although both of us have experience in Southern African bushveld, it was not easy to find buffalo herds in the Bush as we were expecting. Thus, we spent almost all of our field days looking for buffaloes, from Sunrise until sunset, in our bakkie (4*4 Land cruiser). The open loading bay at the back of the vehicle was set up to quickly deploy and land two Mavic 2 drones.

After an initial struggle, we got some idea about buffalo activity and strategies to find them depending on weather and time of the day, which included random searching using vehicles and drones and waiting at the waterhole. Nonetheless, while constantly looking out for aggressive elephants (we were mock charged a few times), we did more than 250 drone flights and got data on a variety of herd types and which captured some exciting behaviors from the air.

Drone launch at sunrise

Buffalo herd in the bush

The next task is to process the data using the Herd hover pipeline. It would be tricky as the all the areas where we filmed were not very open as we thought they would be. However, it would be possible with the help of the entire Herd hover team.”

Watch this space for more updates!