Check out how volunteers help Swiss farmers save fawns and deer by using drones

Volunteers in the Swiss town of Forel have come up with the idea to use drones to find fawns or young deer nestled beneath tall grasses, preventing farmers from accidentally harming them with heavy agricultural machinery. 

Fondation Sauvetage Faons volunteers use drones to find fawns or young deer on fields, preventing farmers from accidentally harming them.
Photo by Fondation Sauvetage Faons.

The news follows sad statistics which showed that hundreds of fawns have been killed or mutilated in Swiss agricultural fields, prompting Fondation Sauvetage Faons (the Fawn Rescue Foundation) in the Vaud canton to take action. 

Farmer Stephan Kohl, who was devastated when he accidentally killed a fawn in his field, has been using the foundation’s free service to prevent further incidents. 

He told the media: “A little fawn is so small. We all have small cats and dogs at home. Fawns are cute, too. They are wild animals, but animals nonetheless.” 

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Making fawns safe 

Photo by Fondation Sauvetage Faons.

Established in 2018, the group alerts farmers to the presence of fawns so they can steer clear of them while reaping or mowing their property. 

One of the volunteers, Roger Stettler, told Reuters: “When the machinery comes through, the fawn gets hit and is killed. Our goal is to find them and make them safe, so they don’t get crushed.” 

Does tend to leave fawns in fields while they forage for food, returning later for their offspring. 

The fawns remain completely still while awaiting their mothers’ return. They do not get scared off by noise, which makes them vulnerable to being harmed by farm machinery.   

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Thermal imaging 

At the request of farmers, volunteers fly drones high above their fields, using thermal imaging to detect the presence of fawns. 

The volunteers conduct their search early, before the sun heats up the grass, so they can identify the fawns, which appear as red blotches on the drone camera. 

The young animal found on a field is carefully covered with a wooden crate with a flag on top, allowing farmers to easily avoid fawns on their property. 

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Photos by Fondation Sauvetage Faons.
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