Recently, I started volunteering for Sloth Conservation Foundation and learned that it is extremely difficult to find sloths in the canopy because:
1) they hardly move,
2) sit high up in the canopy ( not always ) and
3) their fur is quite resistant to infra red ( although not completely )
Camera traps are not really a solutions because they are difficult to position in the canopy, and because of 1) they are not likely to catch a sloth.
I suggested a lot of flying around with drones, taking lots of pictures, manually identify sloths, then train an AI and once trained do more flying around and let the AI do the work.
This apparently is difficult because flying a drone into a canopy is risky for the drone ( I don't know about the wildlife )
Flying above the canopy can be done, but just a singly leaf layer already prevents the infra red from penetrating.
Here come the questions:
- does anybody have different experiences with flying drones into the canopy?
- does anybody have different experiences with finding sloths via camtraps?
- any other ideas for technology-enhanced spotting of sloths?
If not, would it not be time for tree-climbing droids? Perhaps also for other canopy research.
PS 1 ) The relevance of all this is that currently, sloths are not considered an endangered species, and perhaps they are not. But if they are so difficult to spot, how can we know their occurrence?
PS 2 ) Dogs can be trained to find scat from sloths, but I would not call that technology.