Scientists have been deploying drones to help with what is usually the challenging task of weighing whales.
Usually, scientists have to weight stranded or dead animals which can lead less accuracy.
Now, according to a report in CNET, a team of researchers led by the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies in Denmark and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts published a study on how drones can be used.
The method this week in the British Ecological Society journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.
The CNET report detailed how the scientists used drones to take aerial photographs of southern right whales off the coast of Argentina.
The researchers had developed a model that lets them calculate body volume and mass from these images.
It went on to describe how the drone-and-modelling approach works well for whales, but it could be adjusted and applied to other marine animals that are tricky to weigh and also gives researchers the ability to track animals over time to keep tabs on their long-term health.
Michael Moore, a Woods Hole biologist and co-author of the paper, told CNET: “Weight measurements of live whales at sea can inform how chronic stressors affect their survival and ability to produce offspring.”