WDFW uses drone to study predators and prey in wild lands of Stevens and Pend Oreille counties

(PRESS RELEASE/WDFW)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and collaborating partners will fly a drone over northeast Washington wild lands during the week starting February 16.

WDFW and University of Washington biologists will use the drone to film landscapes and work sites associated with the Predator-Prey Project, a five-year research effort that began in the winter of 2016-17. Researchers working with the project are studying the impact to ungulates (mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk) from wolves and other carnivores such as cougars, bobcats, and coyotes.




Using a drone for this work is less risky and less expensive than filming from conventional aircraft. Video taken by the drone will be used in an education-outreach film, available in late 2020, that will describe the data collection process, and how the data will inform wildlife management decisions.

Drone flights will take place in Game Management Units 117 and 121 in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties. Exact locations, flight times and days will be dictated by weather conditions and animal distributions. The flights will take place mostly on public land. Drone pilots will avoid private land and human habitation when possible.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.