Drones for Orangutan Conservation: Hear OuTrop Director Helen Morrogh-Bernard on BBC Radio 4

Tune in to Shared Planet on BBC Radio 4 today to hear Dr Helen Morrogh-Bernard, OuTrop Founder and Director of Orangutan Research, talk about her work studying orangutans in Sabangau (OuTrop's main field site). Helen is being interviewed by presenter Monty Don on a programme about the use of drone technology for orangutan conservation.

Drones are small remote-control planes or helicopters, which are equipped with GPS and cameras. They have proven to be very effective in monitoring forests and identifying illegal logging or land clearance. They are proving easy to use and a lot cheaper than conventional methods, such as sending a field team in or checking satellite imagery. Best of all they provide real-time information.

Listen to Helen talk about this on Tuesday 9th December at 11am UK time, repeated on Monday 15th December at 9pm UK time, alongside fellow orangutan expert Professor Serge Wich of Liverpool John Moores University (UK), who is pioneering the use of drones for conservation, and political ecologist Dr Chris Sandbrook.

OuTrop has recently purchased our first drone, to provide the CIMTROP Community Patrol Team with eyes-in-the-sky to search for and locate fires, so they can get to them quickly and extinguish them before they get too big or out of control. The Patrol Team will use the drone year-round to improve their habitat protection capability, such as monitoring dams on ex-logging canals or spotting illegal logging.

Drones act as 'eyes-in-the-skies' to monitor illegal logging and the spread of forest fires. Photo: Andrew Walmsley/OuTrop

We would like to thank The Orangutan Project (TOP), the Orangutan Land Trust (OLT), Orangutan Outreach, the Orangutan Conservancy and all the donors to our emergency fire fighting appeal that have enabled us to purchase this fantastic piece of equipment.

Tune into the radio show either live or online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4, find out more about this programme at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04tjdlq or download the show afterwards as a podcast http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/nathistory.