While the competition marks a historic moment in the history of conservationist drone use, these vessels have been helping environmentalists in numerous ways for some time now. The WWF recently accepted a $5 million dollar grant from Google for the purposes of aerial surveillance using drones in Asia and Africa, in addition to the fact that some companies have used the devices to monitor illegal fishing along coastlines.
Drones are also excellent at collecting data on animals by way of taking up-close images as well as providing park managers with numbers on population and food supply. The devices, however, focus not only on animals, but also their surrounding environment, as ecologists survey changes in land and climate with the drones. According to researchers, drones expedite the process of surveying climate by obtaining a larger picture of the environment at a much faster rate.