Logger Attaching System for Sperm Whales Using a Drone

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  • Murakami Ryota
    Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University
  • Toyoshima Takumi
    Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University
  • Furusawa Daichi
    Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University
  • Suzuki Masaru
    Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University
  • Masumoto Kazunari
    Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University
  • Owada Sho
    Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University
  • Tsumaki Yuichi
    Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University
  • Mori Kyoichi
    Department of Animal Science, Teikyo University of Science

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<p>The biologging approach of attaching a logger to the body of an animal provides information that cannot be obtained by conventional direct visual observation. Marine zoologists have used this technique for observing sperm whales preying on giant squids in the deep sea. However, it is almost impossible to capture a sperm whale to attach a logger, because of its large size. Therefore, researchers have used a long pole to attach a logger from a ship to the back of sperm whales. Unfortunately, this method is risky and requires a skilled team. In this paper, we propose a logger attaching system using a drone to solve this problem. The proposed method can be trained on land; thus, it is relatively easy to train a team, and the mobility of the drone can shorten the installation time. Several pieces of equipment developed for the proposed method are described in detail. Furthermore, field experiments were performed with sperm whales to confirm the feasibility of the system. A suction cup of the seventh prototype of the whale rover was adsorbed onto the back of a sperm whale. Although a complete installation was not possible, it was demonstrated that operation was possible in a short time using the proposed method.</p>

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