Drones and Peanut Butter to Save an Endangered Species

Not only can drone technology improve how you manage grazing on your farm or ranch, these little flying robots can also help us solve endangered species problems. In this case, land managers are using drones to deliver peanut butter covered vaccines to prairie dogs as part of an effort to remove the black footed ferret from the endangered species list. If you're not a fan of prairie dogs, I feel your pain. An over-abundance of them in a pasture can be a real problem as I saw first hand when I was running a "Cows Eat Weeds" project. The pasture had been hit hard by drought and years of mismanaged grazing and the prairie dogs had helped in it's deterioration into 500 acres of mostly weeds. When they all died of plague, I was glad for the few years it gave us to graze down the weeds and work on native species recovery. But prairie dogs do have a role to play as part of a healthy ecosystem. Research shows that groundwater recharge, regulation of soil erosion, regulation of soil productive potential, soil carbon storage and forage availability are consistently higher in prairie dog grasslands.

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